F-ETHER Deconstructs “Fixed” In New Remix

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F-ETHER — the alias of local electronic musician Skyler Heck — released a remix of Olivia Castriota’s “Fixed” on March 5. Castriota, a pop singer based in Brooklyn, NY, has a large and powerful voice ripe for a proper remix, and F-ETHER did not fail to harness the energy of her vocal skills in his avant-pop deconstruction of the track. F-ETHER recently curated a playlist for us here at 303 Magazine that includes his new remix.

The original song by Castriota explores the hollowed out and broken feeling one experiences after an intense breakup, a motif in songwriting as old as the craft itself. The emotional fallout from an intense experience such as a relationship ending can make one feel like a mirror that’s been smashed — fractured and unrecognizable. When Castriota contacted F-ETHER about a remix, he approached the undertaking with precision. “My biggest focus on working with this song was really getting the feeling of the song to match the lyrical content,” he said. “This was a song about feeling broken, and I needed my remix to reflect that.”

F-ETHER opted to structure the remix in a way that paralleled the content of the lyrics, aiming to reflect the themes of “Fixed” in its musical counterpart too. Fading in the song with a robotic ambiance that sounds like glitched water flowing, F-ETHER wastes no time introducing a heavy bass kick that swings and intentionally breaks the beat.

The song carries a dark ambiance thanks to a wistful synth melody twinkling behind Castriota’s warped vocals. Using oscillating effects to create a counter-rhythm, this remix adds a layer of complexity to the original by stripping away most of the melody and letting the vocals sit atop a roaring wave of jagged sounds. Building up and back down towards the middle of the song, the saw-toothed shrieks of one synth cut out, letting the vocals fill the space. It returns in the form of a growling bass-heavy synth line right as the vocals glitch and stretches out, a warbled harmony floating over a pounding double-kick that punches hard. Bit by bit, each part of the chorus seeps in until it culminates into a wall of echoing sounds.

F-ether

As the vocals ring out the final verses, all the instrumentation melts away, almost sounding like machinery powering down. The final, haunting notes that ring out is Castriota’s candy-like voice, swinging up before fading away at last.

Stripping down the original to its barest bones, F-ETHER deconstructs and then reassembles “Fixed” in a way that creates a completely new dimension to the song. The off-kilter kick mirrors the swing in Castriota’s voice, while the overall brooding tone illustrates the true agony of falling apart psychologically that the original song underplays a bit. The harsh drums and sharp-edged effects cut deep, just as the demise of a relationship does.

F-ETHER turns “Fixed” from a pop anthem to an Arca-esque industrial siren song, detonating the standard R&B structure and, from the rubble, rebuilding atop the syncopated-beat foundation a beautiful, tormented monster of a song.

You can check out the rest of F-ETHER’s music here and buy the remix here