Various Artists: The Nite Owl Buffet Vol. 1

Alex Burkat and Chrissy's label keeps the tasty house grooves coming.
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The Nite Owl Buffet Vol. 1

When you've had a great night at the club, you just may end up at a diner with your friends afterwards—at least according to Alex Burkat. While the Philly/NYC–based producer does indeed love a good plate of pancakes, there’s more to his love of diners than just breakfast classics served by a waitress calling you "toots": “Talk to your average person and say you like techno, they’ll start to imagine some Ibiza-looking kind of guy," he says. "But house and techno are as American as diners and apple pie, and those are things from the U.S. that I’m actually proud of.”

It’s with the same pride and diner-booth-camaraderie that Burkat and Chicago's Chrissy run The Nite Owl Diner, an imprint as focused on showcasing the talent of their musical friends as it is pushing the breadth and sound of modern house music. Now four releases in, the Nite Owl Diner has caught the ears of DJs across the globe, with records from the Black Madonna and Nautiluss quickly demanding represses. Last week brought on the young imprint’s first mini-compilation, The Nite Owl Buffet Vol 1 four-tracker.

Burkat himself leads off the release with “Out2C”, a cut that he says was originally conceived of as a dubstep tune, before he slowed it down and smoothing out the rhythm into a driving house number. “We’re not putting out just bangers," he says. "Sometimes, we’re deliberately putting out records that will be good for early in the night or winding down late at night with friends.” The track falls somewhere between those two extremes, using a pressurized thudding bass and shuffling beat to hypnotize your head and move your feet. The next tune, "Work," keeps the Chicago vibes going, with Smart Bar and Argot affiliate Savile teaming up with fresh-faced Chicago producer JKnochel. Imbued with equal parts pysche and jack, the number is built around an arpeggiated synth riff, just the right amount of snare, and the classic "work me, god damn it" vocal sample..

Boston music maker Ali Berger takes the driving momentum from those two numbers, hits the gas, and never turns back with his club burner “WKL,” a Dance Mania–esque club banger that rides a simple yet addictive groove, one that shifts ever so slightly while pounding the drums at 130 bpm. Finally, keeping it all in the family , sthe snappy low-end infused “Sup” from Olin—another Smart Bar/Argot affiliate, and a frequent collaborator with Savile—sticking to the Chicago-style vibes.

Whatever’s in the coffee over at the Nite Owl Diner seems to be working brilliantly, as Burkat and Shively build serious momentum for their young imprint while playing to their strengths in showcasing the Chicago house-influenced work of friends. For club play or winding down the night, The Nite Owl Buffet Vol. 1 will have you asking for a refill. Check, please!