Pit Er Pat

The Flexible Entertainer

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The Flexible Entertainer just might be the most accurately titled Pit Er Pat album yet. Not just because Butchy Fuego and Fay Davis-Jeffers wrote these songs for a European tour that included an appearance at the ATP Festival and thus kept the instrumentation simple to travel light, but because the duo keep stretching the boundaries of its music with every release. They’ve never repeated themselves since the days of Shakey, yet Fuego and Davis-Jeffers manage to keep the heart of their music -- elongated explorations, globally minded melodies and arrangements, and just enough pop to hold it all together -- alive in every incarnation. And though Pit Er Pat recorded The Flexible Entertainer after their tour finished, the album retains the flow of a particularly inspired live show, with a suite-like feel that emphasizes the duo’s playing chemistry. The exotic feel of High Time remains on these lengthy tracks, even though the arrangements are much simpler, focusing on Davis-Jeffers' voice, guitar, synthesizer, MPC, a stripped-down drum kit, cuica, and conga. Pit Er Pat weave these electric, electronic, and acoustic elements together seamlessly, particularly on “Summer Rose,” a collision of Middle Eastern-tinged guitar lines and robo-tribal beats that recalls, at different times, a night at the Casbah and the band at the Mos Eisley Cantina. “Emperor of Charms” is just as compelling, a seven and a half minute excursion with a smoking guitar solo that adds to its feral quality. Davis-Jeffers and Fuego keep the energy of these intense tracks even on the more reflective pieces like the spectral album closer, “Specimen,” which blends the delicate guitars of Pit Er Pat’s early work with loops and a jazzy feel that give the song a completely different dimension. While it isn’t as immediate as High Time, fans of that album and hypnotic, improvisatory music will love getting lost in The Flexible Entertainer.

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