Yes Selma – Dulce en Rune
9.21.22 by Matty McPherson
Chad Beattie’s Yes Selma project is self-described as “the musical vehicle of expression.” Recorded near the start of the year, the multi-instrumentalist creates his own, jubilant one-man orchestras. It’s a joyous ruckus that layers and loops these swap meet sorts of worlds; beautiful treasures hidden amongst the junkers. It’s music that feels as out of time as Dead Can Dance or the folk traditions Power/Rollins and other collaborators nestle into.
An opening field recording is practically a red herring, masking what is a wicked round of hammered dulcimer or glockenspiel driven music. It has that feeling that can summon fall festivities–like Heron’s increasingly radiant instrumentation (and synthesizer usage), or go deep into reminiscents of gothic cathedrals and graveyards, like on Crow. There, the clank of a ritualistic percussive and salon piano eat the world whole. One Red Bird twinkles whilst an alto sax solo from what sounds of an underground cave throws in a rustic quality to the recently designated ambient jazz buzz. But even this song’s spirit is not wallpaper, but horse! Side A closes with Dix Creek Blues, featuring a lovely, fluid performance from the only other musician on this tape, one Creek.
Side A’s amalgamation of ideas does give way to the utter beauty and simplicity of Side B. Snow is Falling is Asheville is simply that, a delicate dance of the hammered dulcimer and twinkling glockenspiel that fulfills a pastoral fantasy. A motorik, droned impulse channels through the piece that puts it in line as a spiritual cousin to Bulbis’ masterful paeans to lockdown. However, Beattie truly comes into their own with Blue Ridge. Here, the hammered dulcimer’s tuning gives it an imagined regionality to its sound as a few key keys of a piano are repeated as if to invoke a stately presence. It rattles with a regenerative spirit, the energy of a blessed fall harvest being celebrated with dance and bountiful feast. Needless to say, I hadn’t anticipated such an otherworldly yet plainspoken affair to find its way into my walkman. But as it goes.
Dulce en Rune is available in the ever-useful cassette format. Layout by David Van designs. Chrome tape is forever. Limited Edition