Gig Seeker Pro


Oakland, California, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2015

Oakland, California, United States
Established on Jan, 2015
Solo Electronic Avant-garde


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Watch It Sparkle"

By all logical assumptions, dsfečo would not appear to be from Oakland, California. For a start, the name chosen by classically trained music theory junkie David Fetcho sounds a bit Slavic or maybe Brazilian. Similarly the opening track on his new EP, “Watch it Sparkle,” starts with a very Brazilian beat. Also there’s the general feeling that the music Fetcho creates under this moniker is far too weird to be from America. Then again, however, this lovely country did give birth to some of Fetcho’s most revered forbears like Philip Glass and David Byrne. That’s the level of weird and indeed also the level of skill and mastery we’re dealing with here.

dsfečo’s name is, indeed, of Slavic origin. His Slovak grandparents were assigned a more Americanized surname when they arrived at Ellis Island. When the 50-plus-year veteran composer of the performing arts game decided to venture into solo music, he chose to kick it old school and honor his heritage with this original spelling, creating a lovely little word processing nightmare for me and my music critic colleagues.

Fetcho started his music career composing commissioned works for dance, theater, video and broadcast radio. He was also in various avant-garde bands in high school and college, with moderate levels of success. Fetcho has always thought of himself as a songwriter rather than a composer, but it seems composing was his bread and butter for most of his career. With his choreographer wife, Fetcho composed and produced 14 live original dance exhibitions. He also scored and produced radio and TV broadcasts and even dabbled in copywriting.

Now at age 65, Fetcho as dsfečo has finally decided to follow his passion and strike out on his own, combining his incredible compositional skill with his love of avant-garde and experimental music. Thank goodness he took this chance, even in later life, because “Watch It Sparkle” is an absolutely masterful work. Diverse and interesting, the six-song EP merges genres in a way which is dissonant and harmonious at once. As I said previously, comparisons with the greats of compositional experimental music like Philip Glass, David Byrne and more recently James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem come to mind when listening to “Watch It Sparkle.”

These comparisons are in technique and skill level mostly, but some direct influence from the avant-garde masters can be spotted as well. Album opener “Not Again,” for example, contains some Latin/Brazilian beat composition which is reminiscent of Byrne’s “Rei Mono.” It’s clear that this tune is all Fetcho’s own, however, and it establishes his unique style of composition from the very first bar. Fetcho also introduces his introspective lyrical style in “Not Again,” as he says one of his primary reasons for creating this album is to put out messages about the difficulties of modern life and the psychological, social and political pressures of this emotionally disconnected world in which we find ourselves. The lyrical cycle of the songs is intended to mimic the cycles we go through in life.

As well-written as the lyrics are and as prominent as Fetcho wants them to be, I can’t get past the amazing composition and production on this album. Maybe once I listen to it 150 or so times (which will happen), I’ll focus in on the lyrics but at present I am just focused on the great balance dsfečo manages to strike on such a compositionally complex work. We truly haven’t seen the like in terms of skill level in many years, especially in a new artist. “Not Again” combines the afore-mentioned tribal beat with classical strings, electronic oversamples and Fetcho’s poignant yet dispassionate vocals (think “New York I Love You” by LCD Soundsystem). “Civilization” starts off very sparse with only vocals and piano, but suddenly a beautiful symphonic instrumental track closes the song.

The title track on “Watch It Sparkle” title track is meant to be the album’s apotheosis, a seven-minute epic which includes every musical style and sample imaginable. This song in itself is a journey through music and all different types of sound. So many emotions, thoughts and ideas are conveyed here that one might think the song is too busy or schizophrenic before hearing it, but it makes perfect sense and would be a wonderful song to see performed live. While the first two songs on “Watch It Sparkle” convey difficulties, confusion and psychological struggles, the title track puts all these together with a clear feeling of love and passion for life in all its confusing and difficult splendor.

The final three tracks on the album, “Conspiracy,” “I’ll Be By Your Side” and “Just Another Good Day” follow the lead of “Watch It Sparkle” by expressing hope for the human condition and the joy of finding the good things that make it all worthwhile. The music of course broadens these sentiments; these three tracks are a little quieter and more reverent than the first songs. “Just Another Good Day” closes the album with whispered lyrics and a high-pitched harp melody accompanied by slightly discordant vintage synths. The track itself closes, however, with the sounds of an impending storm. I think all this is meant to signify the cycles in peoples’ lives (Fetcho also said that outright). Whenever there is a moment of peace and contentment, there can be another difficulty/storm/conflict on the horizon, and vice versa. The learning in life is done through these cycles, and it seems “Watch It Sparkle” asks us to appreciate all the facets life when and where we can.

As far as I’m concerned as a music lover, dsfečo’s first solo album has it all: complex song composition, beautiful, emotive melodies, just the right amount of dissonance and well-placed syncopation and vocals which drive home the point of all this strange music. This stuff might not be everyone’s bag, but if you’ve got any understanding of the science of music or how it can be composed to push the boundaries of genres, styles and even its own classification as music, then you must at least appreciate the skill that went into this work. It’s wonderful to see an artist who was once mired in more conventional music composition and production take this kind of a chance so successfully. - Brutal Resonance

"dsfeco – Watch it Sparkle"

When I first listened through dsfeco’s debut album, Watch it Sparkle, my initial reaction was one of an incredibly polar division. I found that the ambient electronic music that he created fascinating and really enjoyable to listen to, but I was often tilting my head at the lyrics and sort of spoken word that he layered over top of his meticulously created music. I felt like his voice weakened and ruined his work – initially. I must admit, that first listen, I didn’t give David Fetcho’s, dsfeco, work the time and consideration that it truly deserved. If you give his work a listen, watch out for that. A surface listen isn’t likely to give you any satisfaction.

When I sat down to write this, I listened once more; I really paid attention to his lyrics, and let myself experience the moods, emotions, and atmospheres that he was creating. I quickly realized that my initial impression had been incredibly far off. When I found myself so pleasantly surprised by what I was listening to, I thought I ought to look into who this dsfeco guy was. I was even more blown away by what I found, and it made his work that much more intriguing and impressive. David Fetcho is a 67 year-old professional composer. He has worked for probably longer than I have been alive, doing commissioned works for dance, theater, video and broadcast. For more information on the guy and to give his new six-track album a listen, check out his SoundCloud.

Returning to Watch it Sparkle, dsfeco’s voice can at times be a bit discomforting; however, when listening closely, you can hear that he has an incredible degree of control over his voice. He uses his voice as a powerful tool on top his pretty mind tripping music. He creates discord and dissonance intentionally to rattle his listeners and make them feel the dark and yet hopeful message of his album. dsfeco says that he doesn’t really know what he would call his own music, he labels it is a lyric-driven operetta. I wouldn’t disagree, his music is incredibly dependent on the lyrics and they are powerfully thought provoking. He has some serious psychedelic ambiance going on, so you might call it an ambient psychedelic operetta? Whatever you want to call it, dsfeco’s debut album is way deeper than it might seem at first, and is absolutely worth a good listen. If you can, turn of the lights, light some incense or scented candles… let yourself enjoy it. - indiemunity

"UTG INTERVIEW: dsfečo on ‘Watch It Sparkle’ and Being an Independent Artist"

UTG INTERVIEW: dsfečo on ‘Watch It Sparkle’ and Being an Independent Artist
August 10th, 2015 Brian Lion

“So my expectations are modest: that for some folks unknown to me, my music and poetry might open a window–maybe just a little bit–and allow them to get a glimpse of the secrets of their own heart as it tries to make sense of this world.”

David Fetcho, better known under the musical moniker of dsfečo, has been involved with music nearly as long as he’s been alive–coming up on 70 years. His newest solo EP, Watch It Sparkle, features six tracks of something akin to what he describes as “medieval folk music for the 21st century.”

We were able to speak with dsfečo, well in depth, about his newest works and far too much else to even summarize, so just follow us below to read our conversation in full.

Firstly, can you tell me a little about the name you took for this project? It’s closely related to your real name, correct?

Right. My given name is David Fetcho, and growing up Catholic, I took the name Stephen as a confirmation middle name (after the first Christian martyr who was stoned to death, largely for indicting the hypocrisy of the religion of his day). I was always uncomfortable with the name “Fetcho” and was teased a lot as a kid—you know, “fetch this” “fetch that.” But when I discovered the Slovak origins, and spelling, of my paternal grandparents’ name, I found a new way to own my name and heritage—not to mention a name that looks kind of cool graphically. Hence, dsfečo.

At 67 years old, you have a vast history with music. Where did it all begin for you? What originally inspired you to want to get involved with music?

My mom tells me I started talking at a very early age, around 7 months, and began singing not long after (and she loves to add, “And he hasn’t shut up since!”). I can’t remember a time I wasn’t interested in music, or didn’t think of myself as somehow involved with it. My maternal grandfather was a piano savant. He never took a lesson, but could play anything he heard after just one hearing. I think I picked up the feeling from him that I should be able to do anything at all with music. Of course, once I began piano lessons at age 8, I found out pretty quickly that it wasn’t going to be quite that easy! Growing up in a blue collar, Eastern European community in Pittsburgh, PA in the ’50s, there was a lot of “Polka pressure” to deal with, and after a couple years of piano, I switched to the accordion. Fortunately, I had as my teacher the great Joe Zarnich, who was a bear on theory, as well as a brilliant improvisationalist. I studied with him for six years, becoming quite a good accordionist, and, I think, internalizing a great deal of music theory that’s allowed me to take a more intuitional approach to composing without losing track of structure. Throughout my early years, I also sang in a touring boys’ choir (we were even cast in the opera, Tosca, at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Music Hall), and studied recorder with a German recorder teacher, so that now alto recorder is my primary instrument.

Having spent decades in the industry, what would you say have been some of the biggest ups and downs you’ve experienced along the way?

There are a couple ways to answer that. First, in terms of public recognition and notoriety, it’s always a disappointment when people don’t give one’s work an attentive and honest appraisal, and instead resort to categorical thinking about the work they’re encountering. But it’s likewise a joy when folks have actively appreciated what I’ve done, and really encouraged me by opening opportunities to produce more work. Touring performance work with my wife, Susan, performing and giving workshops in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Bali, as well as locally, were obvious high points. Every time I finished a commissioned work for a dance company or other project and saw it performed was, naturally, a great boost. But living through how hard it was for us–and many, many independent artists more worthy than we were–to really make a mark could, at times, be quite depressing. But collaborations that have turned into long standing friendships have been the greatest reward.

The other way to answer your question has to do with my relationship to the work itself. The biggest ups come when a piece is finished and it feels really satisfying. The biggest down comes when I realize I shouldn’t have been satisfied so easily!

And how did you get where you are now with dsfečo? What inspirations have led to the sound you’ve taken on with this project?

You know, I’ve metabolized so many strands of music that it’s impossible to pinpoint any particular inspirations. As a choirboy I sang Gregorian Chant every week. The first songs I wrote as a young teen were doo-wop knock-offs. Folk and protest music came next, then listening to groups like The Fugs and Pearls Before Swine, then psychedelia and rock. I was fascinated by experiments in synthesized music in the ’60s, so jumped at the chance, in 1970, to take a class with Patrick Gleeson at Different Fur Trading Company in San Francisco on the big studio Moog they had acquired for a Jefferson Airplane project. I was totally hooked, and subsequently spent many late night hours every week on the Moog at Mills College Center for Contemporary Music, through their incredibly generous community access program. All through the ’80s I listened mostly to world music, late Medieval, Ars Nova and early Renaissance composers, and the bunch of post-modernists and minimalists doing the most interesting work of the decade (the Eno/Byrne collaboration on My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts was, for me, a high water mark). Vocally, I drew a lot of inspiration from Meredith Monk’s extended vocal work, which was a liberating influence. I also attended a demonstration at Stanford University in the early ’80s of a new sampling technology that allowed merging wave harmonics of various natural sounds to create a new, unsynthesized, “natural” hybrid sound (e.g. a trumpet that roared with a lion’s roar). I began my own digital sampling experiments with my first computer in 1985. So it was in the ’80s that my own compositional style started to form, which has evolved along a continuum to the present body of work.

I’m also interested in microtonality. For example, in the title track I’ve juxtaposed both singing and ocarina playing in a 19-tone scale against modal backgrounds. In addition, for the past 16 years I’ve been singing traditional, early American shape-note music, both here in California and in visits to traditional singing communities in the South, where the tradition got embedded in the early 19th century. I can’t put my finger on a specific thread of influence on my current work, but I feel so saturated with this music that I’m sure it’s left its mark.

As you’ve been involved with numerous bands and projects over the years, what is it now that has you wanting to focus on a solo endeavor as opposed to working with other bands and such?

Well, can you imagine getting a band to play the music on this EP? It could be done, of course, but I wanted to first articulate the vision of the music without the complexities of managing what would amount to a small orchestra. Theoretically, I can see myself touring with a group of stellar players who would contribute their own creativity to my music, making it a truly collaborative expression. And, if a producer somewhere decides it’s worth an investment, I have no doubt that I could create a far-out show. But for the time being, I’m enjoying the freedom of being able to seriously focus and playfully experiment in my studio in service of a pretty clear vision of what I want to say. Plus, I’m an ingrained introvert.

As an independent artist doing something truly unique, I can only imagine the challenges with getting your name and music out there. What about this has kept you going despite the obstacles you may be faced with?

Pretty much every musician I talk to who’s not Taylor Swift or Kanye West finds the current turmoil in the music industry really trying. Used to be you could sell CDs. Then it used to be you could sell downloads. Now with everybody streaming, the only way an independent artist can hope to make a living and sell some records is to gig endlessly, and hawk their merch after every show. And any independent artist whose work is in any way divergent (even assuming it’s well-crafted, smart music) is immediately in a needle-in-ten-thousand-haystacks situation.

In a larger sense, the absolute glut of streamable music has, I think, devalued Pandora-cized music per se in the minds of listeners. The reliance on spectacle to tickle the attention of the herd on what are often the most inane songs is really off the charts. Look at the Grammys. I mean, how many hyper-sexualized cyborg twerkers in cat suits (or lack thereof) can you take in one sitting? Sure, it’s nice that some dancers are getting a paid gig, but, really…

In my case, maybe putting out a studio EP was not the smartest move from a financial standpoint? While the EP has received quite a few very positive reviews–as well as a couple dunder-headed ones–I still have a box full of CDs in the studio.

So what keeps me going?

For decades I’ve been guided by a paragraph introduced to me by the late poet, William Everson, with whom I’ve been privileged to share a few readings when he was still alive and active.

Writing in 1937, R. G. Collingwood, concludes his ground breaking work, The Principles Of Art, with this paragraph: “The artist must prophesy…in the sense that he tells his audience, at the risk of their displeasure, the secrets of their own hearts. His business as an artist is to speak out, to make a clean breast. But what he has to utter is not, as the individualistic theory of art would have us think, his own secrets. As spokesman of his community, the secrets he utters are theirs. The reason why they need him is that no community altogether knows its own heart; and by failing in this knowledge a community deceives itself on the one subject concerning which ignorance means death. For the evils which come from that ignorance the poet as prophet suggests no remedy, because he has already given one. The remedy is the poem itself. Art is the community’s medicine for the worst disease of the mind, the corruption of consciousness.”

In a recent interview with Bill Moyers, the novelist E.L. Doctorow made an observation about current American writing that I think applies to popular music as well. He says, “I think we tend today to be more Miniaturists than we used to be. We’ve constricted our lens. We’ve come in the house, closed the door, pulled the shade, reporting on what’s going on in the bedroom, the kitchen but forgetting the street outside and the town and the highway. What is the big story? The national soul is always the big story; who we are, what we’re trying to be, what our fate is, where we will stand in the moral universe when these things are reckoned.”

For me, these two statements give me all the encouragement and courage I need to keep working. While I totally realize just how small and relatively insignificant my little record is in the big scheme of the music industry, etc., I still fervently believe in what my music has to say. So my expectations are modest: that for some folks unknown to me, my music and poetry might open a window–maybe just a little bit–and allow them to get a glimpse of the secrets of their own heart as it tries to make sense of this world.

In regards to Watch It Sparkle, how would you describe the EP to someone who hasn’t had the opportunity to hear it yet?

I think it’s odd that several reviewers have called this music “experimental” or “avant-garde.” I don’t think of it that way at all, and think those sorts of labels tend to be more off-putting than inviting. I still like the over-worn cliché, “ancient-future,” as a descriptor. It’s like medieval folk music for the 21st century. And if you listen to some of the compositional structure of many Ars Nova pieces, for example, my music won’t sound very avant-garde at all.

The short answer is that I’m trying to take the listener on a poetic journey within the sometimes confounding psychic swirl going on in our collective souls. And I’d say that if I succeeded at all, you’ll really get your money’s worth with this one! It’s difficult but rewarding listening that’ll give something new to chew on with each repeated play. As thematically dark as some of the songs are, there’s still a joyful complexity holding it all together. If someone takes the time to listen into the music (rather than just listening to it), I think they’ll discover the gift I’ve tried to present to my audience.

Lyrically, are there any themes or messages you hope listeners will pick up on?

I was really pleased that one reviewer picked up that the second cut, “Civilization,” was a satire! For me that short lyric most concisely gets at the deep irony of the history of human progress. And, in a sense, it’s the anchor of the entire record. The subtext to all the songs is the ironic, double-edged nature of the controlling myth and metaphor of our age: the unquestionable myth of progress, and its organizing metaphor, “life is a contest.”

The title track is kind of an outline of that progression, starting with a “myth of origins” timeless state imagined by a character having a genetic memory in a bar. He then traces the decline of innocence and the constriction of hope through to the final recourse of maybe finding some “sparkle” in a flashing neon sign or the headlights of a car. It’s kind of a conceptual mash-up of the first three chapters of Genesis with Jared Diamond’s “Guns, Germs and Steel.”

But overall, I’d hope that listeners would find in this song-cycle a poetic exploration that speaks, however abstractly, to the condition of our cultural environment. And I hope that folks make it through to the last cut, “Just Another Good Day,” which lifts us out of the jaws of our conflict-driven dilemma into graceful connection.

I’m from the Bay Area myself, and as I see you’re currently located in Oakland, I’m curious as to what some of your favorite venues are in the area, both to perform at or to see other acts play.

To tell you the truth, I don’t go out much. I’ll only go see an act that I either know and love, or that I suspect is going to surprise me. One of my favorites has been the New Music Bay Area summer solstice event at Chapel of the Chimes in Oakland. It’s a Julia Morgan designed mausoleum and columbarium with many discreet nooks and crannies throughout several levels. NMBA presents close to a hundred performers who set up in these little spaces while the audience of nearly a thousand folks walks through the building encountering every sort of amazing performance, all going on at the same time. There are also two larger spaces for featured acts that never fail to be stunning. I’m sure to never miss Amy X Neuburg, who performs there every year, and for whom I have boundless admiration.

I know you recently “gave in” and started a Twitter account. What do you see the advantages of that being for you?

So far, not much. I see a lot of independent musicians on Twitter who become obnoxious with their constant self-promotion, so I try to avoid that temptation. Then there’s the constant stream of time-sucking twaddle to plow through. I guess I need a tutorial on how to use it more smartly.

As Watch It Sparkle has been out for a bit now, what have you been working on in the meantime or hope to do for the remainder of the year?

Probably like a lot of writers, there are times I have to force myself to write, and other times I have to force myself not to write, just to take care of the mundane chores of existence. I’ve been going through the latter for the past couple years, so have a pretty large backlog of material waiting in the wings. I’m looking forward to a new single release this fall–a song that’s topical and on point with something everybody’s thinking about. It’s also bound to be controversial with the fundamentalists of various stripes–as if they’ll ever listen to it!

I also have an “ambient” instrumental album in the works, called eubiance. With false modesty aside, I think this record is going to be quite lovely. Then there are all the songs that didn’t make it onto Watch It Sparkle for various reasons, as well as the ones I’ve written since. The next album of songs will have a broader focus, with love songs and lyrical meditations as well as the more social commentary ones.

My family on both sides all live active lives into their nineties, and I don’t feel substantially different than I did when I was forty. So I don’t have plans to stop creating any time soon. - Under The Gun Review

"dsfečo’s Masterful Take on the Avant-Garde a Long Time Coming"

dsfečo is the performing name David Fetcho, adopted when he decided to release his first-ever solo work after over 50 years in music. Fečo is the original Slovak spelling of his surname, but when his grandparents arrived at Ellis Island, they were given a phonetically English version. This composer-cum-solo artist may have chosen this name as a mirror to his career. Though David Fetcho has made his living as a successful composer and producer, his original love is avant-garde songwriting, just like his original name is Fečo.

Fetcho started his music career playing in a number of bands in high school and college, with varying degrees of success. He began composing for various radio broadcasts and theater and dance productions while still in college, and made this largely his career. Fetcho’s wife is famed choreographer Susan English Fetcho and together they created, directed and scored 14 original dance theater productions over 13 years. While Fetcho has an impressive career, all of his work has been with others; collaborations, group/band work and compositions for other artists to perform.

After five decades dsfečo took the daunting step to create his first solo EP, Watch It Sparkle. An epic of avant-garde composition, this album’s equal has not been seen in experimental music since the likes of Philip Glass or David Byrne. dsfečo says he draws inspiration from Radiohead as well, but the skill of composition and production on Watch It Sparkle is unparalleled.

image: http://guardianlv.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/watchit.jpg
dsfečoThe album opens with Not Again, which may even take some direct influence from Byrne’s Rei Mono, with its Latin/tribal beat structure. Stylistically this track is characteristic of Fetcho’s technique; layering of many different styles and sound samples creates an almost dissonant and chaotic feeling on this and most other tracks on the album. This technique creates the experimental pull for fans of such music, but the level of quality and skill used in the composition and production is what makes each song a cohesive work rather than just noise.

The rest of the songs on Watch It Sparkle are meant to follow a pattern like an operatic libretto, and to create the story of the ups and downs one experiences in life. Civilization is the most basic and restrained-sounding song on the album, with a surprise symphonic burst at the end. The title track, the album’s apotheosis, is meant to be a microcosm to the album’s macrocosm. With a masterful layering of styles and samples, this song cycles through the thoughts, feelings and emotions of being truly present in life while the album cycles through the different phases in life on a larger scale.

Conspiracy, I’ll Be By Your Side and Just Another Good Day have a different tone to them than the three first songs on dsfečo’s new EP. There seems to be a slightly lighter and more positive feeling to these songs, perhaps representing the happier times in life. Just Another Good Day ends the album on a seemingly positive note, with quiet, high-pitched vocals and a pretty harp and synth harmony. The all-instrumental track on the end of the song, however, becomes dark and foreboding once again. Could this be the beginning of another difficult time? Are these dark and stormy tones connoting a fear of the unknown? Fetcho leaves it up to the listener to interpret, and there are many possible interpretations, just as there are many ways to interpret life.

Music is always open to interpretation, especially when it is experimental in nature. With his very first solo EP, dsfečo masterfully creates a framework, reflective of life, in which that interpretation can happen. Whether simply on a musical level or as a whole concept mimicking life, Watch It Sparkle has many angles and facets to be explored by listeners. Based on this, David Fetcho’s debut solo EP as dsfečo, it appears as though it is a very good thing that the music veteran decided to step out on his own and create this powerful avant-garde work. - Guardian Liberty Voice

"Independent Spotlight : ds|fečo - 'Watch it Sparkle'"

It’s never too late to pursue your dreams. ‘Watch it Sparkle,’ the new record from ds|fečo is a testament to that. The name is a moniker of David Fetcho’s, a 67 year-old composer living in Oakland, California. For decades, he’s been a professional composer for theater, dance, broadcast, and a wide variety of outlets. He’s worked on an array of notable projects since 1967 and his determination has become a mainstay in the industry. Finally, he is releasing his first studio record. ‘Watch it Sparkle’ is a diverse assortment of compositions that highlight Fetcho’s extreme talent.

Right from the get-go, there’s a very experimentalist, somewhat obscure, avant garde sound to ds|fečo. The lyrics, as Fetcho describes them, explore “underlying political, social, environmental, and psychological crises.” The lyrics certainly are quite provocative and introspective, but they take a backseat to the invigorating production of this album. ‘Not Again’ has one of the most peculiar and compelling compositions I’ve ever heard. This dramatic, cosmic, monumental sound cascades like waterfalls of effects descending around Fetcho’s musings. It’s superb.

‘Civilization’ feels reminiscent, as if Fetcho is reflecting on his frenzied past in the industry. “It seemed like a good idea at the time,’ Fetcho grunts softly into an empty soundscape that quickly fills explodes quite unlike anything else you’ve ever heard. It’s really an interlude to the title track, which is an expansive exploration in itself. This music is so complex, the listener can relisten to it a dozen times over and always detect something entirely different. It’s interesting to even play a game with the title track: try to determine what is making up the sounds. It’s not just one effect. It’s more like twenty. Samples, varied instrumentation, and layered vocals craft a cinematic landscape.

As the record continues, ‘I’ll Be On Your Side,’ is one of the most prominent stand outs. That ghostly track is haunting and fascinating at the same time. There are hints of prog rock throughout this record, but it’s also combined with a mixture of other styles. The reflective ‘Just Another Good Day’ closes out the record with Fetcho’s soft whispers matched elegantly by a beautiful string section.

At 67, Fetcho has created something remarkably more contemporary and innovative than people a third his age. This EP is immensely good. It’s a bit like a Laurie Anderson record: there’s so much going on, and he’s experimented so deeply, that one or two listens won’t do it justice. Spend an afternoon with it. It’s a record that pays out when you pay in. - Tilting Windmills Studios

"Single Review – dsfečo – Watch It Sparkle – follow @dsfeco"

dsfečo is a new solo artist based in Oakland, California, but he is definitely not new to music. A talented composer, David Fetcho primarily made his living making and producing music for various theatre and dance shows, broadcast radio and videos for most of his life. After five decades in bands, composing for others and collaborating, he finally made the decision to strike out on his own and make avant-garde music.

Watch It Sparkle, dsfečo’s debut EP, is a multi-genre reflection on modern life and its emotional, psychological and social cycles. The title track is the apotheosis of this work, representing at once the upsetting and sometimes destructive nature of these life cycles and the joy, beauty and lessons that can also come from them. The track starts out in an almost comical tone with calliope music and bird call samples. Fetcho’s vocals are similarly odd and meandering. A saxophone and guitar introduces the second part of the song, which contains a discordant, Philip Glass-like melody with lots of syncopation. The vocals at this point also turn louder and more passionate but still maintain their circus-like quality.

Before closing, “Watch It Sparkle” goes through a number of other phases, each fading into the next. An almost Asian-sounding synth melody and vocals only are layered over once again by the minor-keyed guitar. Fetcho’s vocals become more insistent, almost howling as the song climaxes. It fades out with a digital violin and the same calliope music as the opening.

Watch It Sparkle‘s title track is not necessarily representaive of the whole album style-wise, but it does represent one part of what Fetcho is trying to do with this album. Some songs are more melodic and conventional-sounding while others are even more avant-garde than this one. Meant to be Fetcho’s interpretation of the ups and downs of life, Watch It Sparkle makes a striking impression both musically and conceptually and is a bold triumph as a first solo album for the artist now known as dsfečo. - The Music News Site.com

"Track Review: dsfečo’s ‘Watch It Sparkle’"

dsfečo is the moniker adapted by composer, David Fetcho on his first solo album,Watch It Sparkle. Fetcho has been composing and producing music for over 50 years but never as a solo artist and never this particular brand of experimental, Philip Glass-like material.

The title track on Watch It Sparkle is the apex of the album, which is dsfečo’s musical interpretation of the all the strange ups and downs humans can experience in life. Starting out very sparsely with haunting calliope music and bird call samples, the vocals watchithave an equally creepy wailing quality to them, with lots of major-to-minor key switches. The song takes a number of twists and turns over its seven-minute span, finally closing with a digital violin and similar calliope music to the opening.

dsfečo’s conceptual interpretation of the psychological, social and emotional cycles of life and their lessons not only accomplishes its goal but showcases Fetcho’s incredible compositional skill. Watch It Sparkle can be heard in its entirety on dsfečo’s Soundcloud page or on Spotify. - Ellenwood

"Dsfečo: Watch It Sparkle"

Oakland, CA-based songwriter/multi-instrumentalist/singer, Dsfečo has been in the business since the late 60’s. Now in his late 60’s himself, he releases his debut solo, six-song EP, Watch It Sparkle.

The six-song mélange of programmed drums, wild guitars, fancy, chorused synth strings, and various double-tracked harmony vocals all commenting on where we are now is a heady mix to be sure. As Dsfečo says of the conceptual piece, “I think I’m going for some sort of poetic encounter within the hidden parts of our culture’s soul—but that could be pure presumption. All I know is, I’ve tried to be as honest as possible in putting what I see into these songs, as well as composing music that tries something a little different in its structure.”

From the semi-rap opening of “Not Again,” where Dsfečo is lamenting another day, to what for me is the brilliant (and short), satire, vocal-led “Civilization” to the wild, full run of the dramatic title track (and here we get Zappa-like moments of wacky vocals and even over-driven lead at the end) to the even longer “Conspiracy” (the longest song here) opening with its beautiful piano, guitar flights, echo vocals, swirling strings and plucky percussion to the almost buzzing bee call of “I’ll Be On Your Side” and the harp pluck of ender “Just Another Good Day,” which might as much be the hoped-for connection between protagonist and his love or a rumination on death, Dsfečo has lots to offer here. - shortandsweetnyc.com

"EP REVIEW: dsfečo, ‘Watch It Sparkle’"

David Fetcho’s musical career has spanned five decades and has swerved into many paths of oncoming traffic, including a 13-year stint composing for stage which led to a commission from the Australian Broadcasting Company to score a nine-part series on recovering heroin addicts. Most interestingly for readers of my usual beat, however, are the scant few years in the mid-to-late ’60s he spent in and out of deep-cut psych bands the P.D.U.S.M. and, later, the People. His work with those groups would give a foretaste of what was to come some fifty years later: his very first solo record, Watch It Sparkle.

Fetcho, operating under the name dsfečo, finishes what he started back in the Sixties Bay Area. Described as both a song cycle and mini-operetta, Sparkle defies the traditional “album” is. In fact, its content could defy music itself. Beginning with the percussion-laden funk jam “Not Again,” Fetcho incorporates what might be considered beat poetry if it weren’t for the surreal swirl of instrumentation behind his words. No, he saves that for “Civilization,” which begins with raw vocals and evolves into a digital drone (quite a statement about civilization indeed). That evolution (or devolution, as it were) continues through the titular track and into “Conspiracy,” with its oddly mechanical Beach Boys-esque vocal harmony chorales. Wrapping up with the chaotically magnetic “I’ll Be On Your Side,” the EP appropriately ends with “Just Another Good Day,” which somewhat resolves the ennui of “Not Again.” A song cycle, yes.

Sparkle is a treat for the ears and a stimulation for your senses. It’s easy to see where Fetcho’s psych background served as the breeding ground, and how his journey through theatre and composing over the years has landed him here at a fitting jumping off point for, hopefully, much more music to come. “I think I’m going for some sort of poetic encounter within the hidden parts of our culture’s soul,” he speculates, “but that could be pure presumption.” - POPDOSE

"dsfečo - Watch It Sparkle (Self-Released)"

David Fetcho has a long history in the music industry. From performing in 60’s bands like The People and The P.D.U.S.M. to work as a producer and work in radio, you’d hardly think he’d be the type of person to just release their first ever EP, but he has done just that under the name dsfečo on Watch It Sparkle and it sounds as fresh and relevant as someone new to the industry.

The six songs represent a song cycle, and are part of a loose mini opera encapsulating Fetcho’s basic world philosophy. The songs here reach into the darkest corners of psychedelic and classical music, combining, stretching, and distorting the two to the point where you wonder if this is really music at all.

His experimentation with rhythm and found sound sources like the eerie “Civilization” seem to echo the similar orchestral ventures made by Holger Hiller in the 80’s. His wailing on “Watch It Sparkle” is incredibly unsettling to say the least, and Fetcho would have been even considered an outsider had this been created in the original psychedelic era. It’s not music that you can just put on in the background and forget, but that’s precisely the point. Watch It Sparkle is a call to wake up and pay attention, and in a way the EP is strangely inspiring. - The Big Takeover


Dsfečo’s sound is a unique, thought-provoking swirl of tittering synths, recorder, ocarina, and vocals that are more rhythmic speaking than singing. There’s a very good chance you won’t be sure of what you’re listening to, but that’s part of the excitement that solo artist David Fletcho’s created. Fletcho may be 67 and releasing his solo debut, but his music is an innovative, genre-defying creative bundle that you’ll be instantly addicted to. Check out his single “Not Again” above, and head over to SoundCloud for the full EP. - The Wild Honey Pie

"dsfeco – “Watch It Sparkle”"

dsfeco is David Fetcho, an avant-garde musician in his late 60s who has been composing commissioned material for theater, dance, video and more for decades. He’s also been writing within all sorts of genres since high school. In 1967, his college band was signed to Jubilee Records, and he remained in music as a career ever since, from fronting cult ’60s groups like The People to his successful work with wife Susan English Fetcho; they collaborated on 14 original dance/music/theater works that have been performed throughout the world, with a particularly passionate fan base in the San Francisco Bay area.

Fetcho’s music is certainly theatrical and thought-provoking, delivered in a spoken-word reminiscent of the most idiosyncratic material from Scott Walker or David Byrne. Off his brand new debut solo 6-song EP of the same name, “Watch It Sparkle” is a great example of Fetcho’s enjoyable oddities. This lyrical-driven reflection features a queasily developing melodic background consisting of chirping nature sounds at first, before evolving into an assortment of lushly melodic brass and free-jazz complementing Fetcho’s quivering captivation. Meanwhile, an infectious incorporation of synth-pop arises around the four-minute mark. Overall, it’s a stylistically eclectic journey that’s wholly unpredictable and somewhat uncomfortable, but captivating in its own unique way. Give it and the rest of the album a listen, for sure, if you’re a fan of Scott Walker’s more recent offerings. I’d love to see a collaboration between those two. - Obscure Sound

"dsfečo Stops Down to Make Music His Way with ‘Watch It Sparkle’"

David Fetcho performs as dsfečo, the Slovak spelling of his last name

If Pee-Wee Herman, Talking Heads, and Highlander had an experimental love baby, you’d have a very good idea of what dsfečo’s new solo EP Watch It Sparkle sounds like. Veteran music maker, David Fetcho has provided music for theatre, radio, and many creative endeavors for other artists for over five decades but it’s his time to shine now. And he’s going to shine in his own weird and wonderful way.

His work as dsfečo reveals a composer completely set on making new grooves.

“All I know is, I’ve tried to be as honest as possible in putting what I see into these songs, as well as composing music that tries something a little different in its structure. There used to be the idea that popular music has, and is, a power that can pull back the curtain a bit on what’s going on behind the scenes in our world. I still hope for that, which is why I’ve made this EP.” — David Fetcho aka dsfečo

The result is a crazy thrill ride, half spoken, irresistible melodies. Appealing and merry maddening discord. All planned, all organic and out of the mind of a man who certainly knows how to paint a picture. It’s theatre. It’s storytelling. dsfečo’s music is its own small magic and commands that you sit still and listen.

Watch It Sparkle is meant as a sound cycle. I took in Watch It Sparkle on a hiking trip and well, I thought I had done some mushrooms after the third rotation through the record. It’s part Gregorian and part Tibetan monk chat. Thoroughly enjoyable and disturbing. Something we should all expect from music from time to time. - Scallywag Magazine


Watch It Sparkle
Release date: Digital, November 21, 2014; Physical, March 24, 2015
Members/Instruments: Music & lyrics by David Fetcho: Computer assisted
synthesis and composition; accordion, recorder, ocarinas, miscellaneous
found sound sources.
Production: dsfeco. Mastered by Carl Saff, Saff Mastering, Chicago, IL.
Contact: hesychia@comcast.net
Available on iTunes & CDBaby



dsfečo was born David Fetcho (the spelling assigned to his
Slovak grandparents on Ellis Island) in Pittsburgh, PA in 1948.
He has spent decades composing commissioned works for
dance, theater, video and broadcast. But he has always been
a songwriter at heart, beginning with high school and college
bands, and in small venue performances into adulthood. In
1967, his folk trio in college was signed to Jubilee Records by
producer Lou Guarino (Chad and Jeremy, The Skyliners), renamed
"The P.D.U.S.M," was flown to New York to record in
the West Village, offered hookers by the producer (graciously
declined!), got written up as a pick of the week in Cashbox,
then was not promoted into oblivion. His next group, The People,
was signed by Joe Averbach (The Del Vikings; Buddy
Sharp and The Shakers) to Dash Records, and had a release
of proto-psych songs on 45rpm, also in 1967. Both groups'
45's are still listed on collector's sites stateside and abroad.
Since those years, dsfečo has worked as a professional copywriter,
video producer and composer. With his choreographer
wife, Susan English Fetcho, he created and scored 14 original
dance/music/theater works performed in the San Francisco
Bay area and overseas from 1980 until 1993. In 1987, Australian
Broadcasting Company commissioned him to score a 9
part radio series on the recovery journeys of several heroin-addicted
prostitutes in the King's Cross area of Sydney.

Now, at age 67 (really!) he has released his debut solo, 6
song EP, "Watch It Sparkle."

Intended to work as a song-cycle, Watch It Sparkle is a passionate,
lyric driven reflection within the underlying political,
social, environmental and psychological atmosphere in which
we all move. Starting with the relentless movement and halfrapped
lyrics of Not Again, "...to keep moving at all costs, this
is the law..." and ending with reflective resolution in Just Another
Good Day, "Time in its disguises won't fool us anymore,"
the tracks on this EP work as a journey, like a mini operetta. "I
know it sounds awfully presumptuous," says dsfečo, “but my
secret goal with this music is to somehow create a meaningful
poetic encounter with the hidden parts of all our enculturated
souls. Lyrically, I've tried to be as honest as possible,
while composing music that tries something a little different
in its structure. There used to be the idea that popular music
has, and is, a power that can pull back the curtain a bit on
what's going on behind the scenes in our world. I still hope for
that, which is why I've made this EP."
dsfečo offers Watch It Sparkle as the first of several releases,
trying to remind us that “...every breath’s a conspiracy with
every other breathing thing” as we “...sing our hymns in the
crossfire” (Conspiracy).
dsfečo currently lives in Oakland, CA.

Band Members