At age 67 and following a long career in music, dsfečo—who, despite his name, is actually from good old Oakland, California—has released his debut solo EP, Watch It Sparkle. Out in digital form last December and in physical form in March, the six tracks have been written, played, and produced by the man himself. When one reads that he has used, amongst others, an accordion, a recorder, ocarinas, and miscellaneous sounds, one realises that perhaps this EP is nothing quite like what is available in conventional music circles.
Indeed, it does not take long to realise that Watch It Sparkle is made mostly of sounds unfamiliar to the untrained ear. The echoing keyboards in “Not Again” make it sound spacey; the percussion gives it at times a bit of a funky feel, and the lyrics add an almost poetic touch. Each layer is in itself interesting but completely irrelevant in relation to one another. “Not Again” and its successors almost sound as jarring as the mix of unexpected music playing at the same time in three unrelated browser windows.
The shortest track of the EP, “Civilization”, opens with only vocals, with a simple melody played on the piano. Backing vocals join in, followed by other instruments and synth parts. It quickly becomes very messy, reminding me a little of Ross Geller performing on his synthesizer in the television show Friends. The mess becomes crazy in “Watch It Sparkle”, which features even more dissonant and twisted sounds making for some difficult listening.
Things get even more chaotic in “I’ll Be on Your Side” before becoming a little bit less so in the closing song, “Just Another Good Day”, which happens to be both the most melodic number and the one containing the most recognizable elements on this EP.
Radical and confusing at times, Watch It Sparkle features complex music that does not follow conventional logic: It swells when it shouldn’t and accelerates when it should slow down. But just like some obscure tomes can touch the hearts of readers, dsfečo’s vision, which seems to be more of a personal reflection in musical form than an EP made for popular consumption, will probably touch and connect with some listeners. Tracks are available for streaming on SoundCloud; more information is available on Facebook.
Pictures provided by Independent Music Promotions.
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