Subterranean Sound Machine (SSM) is Kat, Ana, and Jack; a German/English/Irish DJ collective who play vinyl in various Manchester drinking establishments including Sandbar and Strange Brew in Chorlton. From time to time Kat and Jack run a club night called Hairbrain, but playing in a bar offers more freedom than playing a set in a club where the focus is on keeping a dance floor.
“Djing in a good bar is more about creating atmosphere and mood, where there is an opportunity to goof-off with silly oddball records and experiment with obscurities that would clear the most forgiving of dance floors. SSM’s approach stems from an interest in the best songs in any genre. This leaves things open to indulge some varied idiosyncratic tastes: Latin American psych, Afrobeat, 60s french yeye, Library music and soundtracks, Kraut and Neu Deutsche Welle, Italo, drone and shoe-gaze, dumb-ass 80s pop, weird covers, cold wave, Irish diddly-dee, electronica, dub anything goes as long as you don’t play a record you don’t like.”
They’ve chosen some throwbacks of classic songs which they play out on a regular basis and always receive a roaring reception, and nextups of their recent acquisitions which will appear as staples in their sets of the future.
- John Barry ‘A View To A Kill (That Fatal Kiss)’
Jack: “This is the b-side of Duran Duran’s 1985 single that they wrote for the Bond film. Barry takes the melody into the bond universe with a big swelling arrangement. I usually play this early on or as a point of caesura where things need taken down and reset. People ask what this is more than any other tune.”
- Liaisons Dangereuse ‘Peut-etre…pas’
J: “Absolutely foundational electronic Body Music. LD were at the vanguard of Neu Deutsche Welle (german New Wave) in the early 80s. They sang in different languages but never English. Punky, futuristic, this tune was foundational for a lot of dance tracks, sampled by Jeff Mills, Juan Atkins, Carl Craig et al.”
- Amadou & Mariam ‘Ce N’est Pas Bon (JD Twitch edit)’
Kat: “One half of Optimo’s take on the Malian duo’s hit. This is a slow building, plinky plonky, afo-techno re-edit that anyone who’s seen Optimo recently might recognize. Released as a limited 10” on his Autonomous Africa label.”
- Los Saicos ‘Demolicion’
Ana: “Crazed Peruvian 60s psych pop. Sounds a bit like surfing bird. It’s a rare set when this doesn’t get played.”
- Ruth ‘Polaroid/Roman/Photo’
Ana: “This is a bit pricey on Discogs, but I’m watching it. Classy French synth pop from 1985.”
- Letta Mbulu ‘Nomalizo’
K: “Brilliant african boogie. Timeless.”
- Hieroglyphic Being & The Truth Theory Trio ‘Keep Your Mind Open’
J: “Bars should be no-techno zones in my opinion, but I always try to sneak one in as a challenge. This would be hard to get away with but I love Jamaal Moss. His edits of tracks by bands like The Cure, Ministry, and Nitzer Ebb, popular at Chicago’s 80s institution The Medusa Club, are incredible, sequenced to within an inch of their lives, gnarly, intuitive and soulful. When you hear Jamaal you know it’s not made on a computer. This is a new one by him.”
- Man 2 Man Meet Man Parrish ‘Male Stripper’
J: “Bizarrely, this is the biggest selling 12” in Scottish history. This is an absolute eejit of a dance tune: a really infectious, daft, record. I think it’s going to become my replacement for ‘Boys Boys Boys’ by Sabrina- I’ve tormented people with that one for too long.”
Skye ‘Ain’t No Need’
J: “A Theo Parrish favourite. Dope 70s LA disco.”
With two of its members off stateside later this month, they’re holding a goodbye party at Strange Brew in Chorlton.
More details here: www.facebook.com/events/1507837089535443.