It was like Pittsburgh Track Authority sprung from the creative womb fully formed. The group — consisting of Preslav Lefterov, Tom Cox and Adam Ratana — debuted last year on Lerato’s esteemed Uzuri imprint, unveiling a full-bodied, multifaceted sound that had no trouble articulating its aims. Utilizing their intimate knowledge of techno and house archetypes as starting blocks rather than building blocks, PTA took off in their own direction and proved to be compelling composers with a considerable knack for arrangements. While also exhibited on their 2011 Archipelago 12″ for Further Records, it’s even more apparent on Pittsburgh Tracks 001, the inaugural release of the trio’s dedicated label, Pittsburgh Tracks.
It’s true PTA owe a considerable debt to classic American house and techno, but no more than any other producers in their current milieu. Where A-side “Untitled” is inspired by Underground Resistance and its cohort, the captivating track wears these influences lightly. Part of it is the narrative structure, which introduces and snatches away each element thoughtfully to keep listeners hooked. The smart pairing of a bleepy but pliable progression and a resolutely plucked bass line bobbing on gritty machine rhythms is what first catches your ear, yet it’s the swooping synth strings lifting “Untitled” to the next level. “Monongahela Rainforest” gives the appearance of being a fairly candid deep-house track, its legato electric piano chords wafting through the weave of hand drums. Their meditative flow is broken by syncopated claps and toms shoving you into the next bar, eventually cresting on tender strings and starstruck cowbells before plunging back into the rhythms. Immensely well written with the dance floor firmly in its sights, Pittsburgh Tracks 001 is a high watermark for a group who continues to generate them.