[Work Them Records]
Organic, honest, classic — all words one would readily associate with Pittsburgh Track Authority. Ranking in at number two on LWE’s list of 2012′s defining acts, the trio of Tom Cox, Preslav Lefterov, and Adam Ratana left an indelible imprint on last year’s underground electronic consciousness. A release on Argot, two on their own Pittsburgh Tracks and an unofficial remix of Jennifer Hudson may not sound like all that much, but the quality proffered spoke volumes. With a tough sound, relevant and deeply entrenched in the American dance traditions of yesteryear, the Pittsburgh three-piece are perfectly poised to deepen their impression on the scene, especially when you consider the brawny intelligence that pervades their inaugural release of 2013 on Spencer Parker’s Work Them Records.
The trio’s urban influences (they met through a mutual love of drum and bass) are on display in “It’s Time,” whose choppy, bass-driven antics smack of early, dark British 2-step garage. Cocky 303s meet darting, techy swathes, all held together by the classic cocktail of swooping bass lunges and affected vocal snippets. The result is impressively coherent, and given their previous output, slightly unexpected. “Missile 1″ sees us on more familiar territory as a taut, rippling synth line instantly grabs the listener by the lapels, inducting him or her into a microcosm of techno times gone by. Capturing that warm, lustrous Detroit soul, myriad synths, snares, and stabs all dance about each other in charismatic unison. In the build up to the EP, “The Standard” has proven the most lionized of the four tracks, with hoards of revelers inquiring as to its identity at recent gigs. And rightly so, as a wonderfully uncomplicated, almost jazzy synth line prances around playfully across a bed of thumping kicks and rhythmic wooden knocks. Like last year’s “Untitled,” it’s a record that will liven up any set with its inherent, universal appeal. Despite fears that anything would subsequently pale in comparison, title cut, “Strenf,” doesn’t try and be too clever, simply marrying classic Motor City synths with a hefty bass line, all wrapped with a metallic intensity. Rarely do we come across such a mature, candid approach to track arrangement and sound design as seen on this EP. But then again, as Preslav made clear in their in-depth interview with LWE last summer, Pittsburgh Track Authority aren’t “interested in making music that people just use once or twice and never listen to again.”