It’s always a pleasure when stylistically coherent crews from across countries, oceans and language barriers collide. From the arrival of the first Kraftwerk records in Detroit (and vice versa, the first Isley Brothers records in Dusseldorf) to the widespread influence of Jamaican sound system culture in the UK ‘nuum, these clashing moments have become some of the most formative events in dance music history. The meeting of Belgrade’s Mystic Stylez with Los Angeles’ Private Selection might not carry the monumental connotations of the aforementioned gatherings, but it is remarkable for anyone who partakes in the percussive club trax, beat-less grime and analogue dreams the two respective labels/parties/crews peddle. Last October’s Advanced Rhythms Vol. 1, featuring crew leaders Dreams, Arkitect and Aerial as well as Jean Nipon, Vin Sol and other club mavens, is still a must have for any listener/producer/DJ interested in the various mutations of grime/Jersey cub/ballroom/kuduro/etc. Mystic Stylez started out as a humble Belgrade-based blog covering juke/footwork, but under the tutelage of Jackie Dagger and Feloneezy has grown up into the Balkans’ answer to Chicago, London, New York, et al. And now the two meet with expectedly ruthless efficiency with Mystic Stylez’s Dagger taking on RUEGD’s tuff-as-nails “Figy” (off of Advance Rhythms Vol. 1). Dagger’s “Kick Mix” is a simple addendum to RUEGD’s percussion-less original, both refreshing and adding some easily digestible propulsion to one of the most original tracks on the Private Selection compilation.
Along with Feloneezy, Jackie Dagger heads Teklife’s small cohort of Belgrade representatives, stretching the Chicago sound to extreme new geographic and sonic lengths. Dabbling in footwork, ghetto house, grime, ballroom and other disparate sounds, Dagger and Feloneezy begun to form their own unique sound distinct from the genre hubs they draw inspiration from. And while the debate over whether European producers have any right to rekindle the inner-city sounds of Chicago, Detroit, or Baltimore, Dagger and Feloneezy often partake in the exercise with a particular grace that has endeared the duo to Teklife veterans and brought members of the crew to their hometown of Belgrade. “Buck Dat” is Dance Mania to the core, from the overblown rounded kicks to the vocal sample, and its a brutally efficient effort at that. Based on their mix work, Dagger and Feloneezy have begun to settle into a particular aesthetic, narrowing their tempo to 130-140 and drawing in on an ebullient, laser-focused and percussive sound.