Artistic disciplines are a funny thing. When an artist finds his or her calling that is usually what they concentrate on. Only the rare artist can bounce from one discipline to another with success. Not many musicians who write symphonies, for example, can whip off a pop ditty. Screenwriters have a difficult time writing a novel, and poets can rarely do much else. I bring this up because of a new EP I heard recently. It is by an artist who calls himself dsfečo. If you think the moniker is a little strange, you should hear the music. When you start to peel away the mystery, we learn that dsfečo is the “nom de plume”, if you will, of David Fetcho. Fetcho has spent decades in the business writing music for dance, theater, video and broadcast works. I hate to be so blunt but if he had found success in that arena, he should have remained there.
The new EP entitled “Watch It Sparkle” is a hot mess. A cross somewhere between Godley Creme’s experimental period right after they left 10cc and Zappa’s early work with the Mothers. In 1972 in a hallucinogenic haze, I might have found this record amusing but today, I just find it kind of comical and sad. The production is muddy and the vocals are lost in the mix and the music itself reminds me just how difficult it truly is to write a good song. Fetcho has said that this project was a labor of love and that he was passionate about its completion and for that, I applaud him. He goes on to say that he does realize that “this sort of music wasn’t going to find a huge audience” but it would appeal to people ready to engage attentively to the way words and music embody some meaning. This reviewer is not quite sure what that meaning would be other than to demonstrate that words and music can go together without any rhyme, reason or melodic component. The best and only way to describe this EP is it’s as if Arnold Schoenberg, Philip Glass and John Cage all got together and tried to write rock and roll music. It just does not work.
Uncle Duke; a.k.a. Rob Penland is the producer and host of "The Mad Music Asylum" a 4 hour weekly syndicated radio show and now a 24 hour streaming internet station.