In its five years of operation, Beef Records' output has been extensive. Its status as a largely digital-only imprint has allowed its releases to drift around freely online, which has led to a small but dedicated worldwide following. Their latest release is built around a concept: after hours clubbing. "Themed" compilations are nothing new to dance music, and, sometimes rightly so, are met with skepticism. But if you're listener with a penchant for groove-heavy tech house, there are moments of brilliance here.
The deep house of Pablo Fierro sets the scene from the onset. The Spaniard gives a lesson in mid-range reverb across his maiden contribution to the Beef catalogue, letting the looping synth of "Another Perspective" plod along without too much interruption, save a steadily building vocal and climatic percussive finale. Further along, Seattle-based veteran Pezzner reworks local Australian act Trinity & Beyond's "Near and Far" into a druggy but upbeat stomper, while The Timewriter's "Silkimono," perhaps a little bland on the surface, lets a vocal snippet ride a nice conga groove to great effect.
The rest of the highlights belong to the Australians (or the Australian residents, at least). Murat Kilic, whose rework of Oliver Koletzki and Fran's "I Might" struck a chord a few months ago, chips in with one of his most relaxed ventures yet. Sample-based production suits the Sydney resident's style well, and "Safety Ghetto" stands as one of the compilation's finest moments. Elsewhere, Shades of Gray's "Midnight Lover" might not initially come off as anything particularly innovative, but the duo's graceful command of vocal chops and whomping basslines has never been more nicely executed.
At times the compilation's flow gets disjointed—the inclusions of the somewhat overproduced "La Musique do Bresil" from The Deadly Ones and maximalist The Deep Bros' "High on Music" are prime examples—but every so often a gem emerges. And that makes up for the patchy journey getting there.