- Pittsburgh Track Authority's first full-length has been a long time coming. Although the group has only been active for three years, its members (Preslav Lefterov, Tom Cox and Adam Ratana) have been DJing and producing since the '90s, when Lefterov and Ratana hosted drum & bass-oriented shows on Pittsburgh's WRSET radio station. Their debut LP, Enter The Machine Age (named after Lefterov's Machine Age recording studio), testifies to the group's expansive knowledge of dance music and their studio savvy.
These assets serve them best when they play it straight. Throughout Enter The Machine Age, PTA dabbles in acid, jungle, breakbeats, synth jams, Detroit techno and disco, but the most straightforward and retro house cuts are the record's most viscerally danceable tunes. On "Broader Disco," the trio demonstrates its production expertise by combining hardware with digital FX and live instrumentation, infusing rough-hewn drums and a bass guitar loop with endless filtering edits. "It's Over," a jacking analog bomb, also borrows from well-worn flavors of house, particularly the Chicago-style clap sounds and dry hi-hats and snippets of soulful diva vocals. "Private Plane," one of the bonus cuts included on the digital release, also bears a strong Chicagoan influence—it's a sparse drum track decorated with puddles of low-end and instrumental croaks. While none of these offer a strikingly innovative take on a tried and true formula, there's no love lost: each one successfully executes these familiar and effective sounds.
When PTA deviates from its comfort zone, the results aren't as inviting. It's hard to pinpoint exactly what's going wrong on syncopated tracks like "Genta" or "Give Me A Chance"—the production is rock solid, but somehow the vibe suffers. "Genta" borrows from high tempo styles—its prominent features are rolling breakbeats, a wobbling, jungle-influenced bassline and stormy chords—but these elements trundle along at a house tempo, which feels somewhat awkward. "Give Me A Chance" maintains a similarly dark energy with a grumbling syncopated stomp that lands between synth bleeps, wet claps and bass tone blobs. It's a bit too heavy to dance to, but not quite deep enough to trip out on.
"Debonair," on the other hand, emanates strong feel-good vibes. The slow-moving kick creates a lackadaisical structure into which PTA place sparkling piano melodies, astral synth pads and a springy hi-hat that seems to yo-yo away from each drum hit. It doesn't reimagine classic house or experiment with the recipe, but it doesn't need to. Here, PTA nails a summery, chilled out, and blissful atmosphere—and that's more than enough.
A2 Give Me A Chance
B1 Broader Disco
B2 It's Over
C1 Visions of Serengeti
D1 Naked Triple
D2 Debonair feat. Nice Rec