Now Playing – F-ether Blends Beats for the Freaks

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For those who dabble in the avant-garde, Denver electronic producer Skyler Heck (aka F-ether) is a mainstay.  Never one to stay in a lane, the producer employs a myriad of styles from drum n’ bass to dubstep. Earlier in 2020, Heck wowed us with his caustic cover of The Faint’s “Fulcrum + Lever” for the 303 Magazine Virtual Cover Challenge. Into 2021, the producer hasn’t backed off of the pedal, dropping relentless remixes for Litchee and Olivia Castriota. For this edition of Now Playing, we asked Heck to take over and share some of the tracks that influence his own style.

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Olivia Castriota – “Fixed (F-ether Remix)”

Skyler Heck: “When remixing Olivia Castriota’s track, ‘Fixed,’ I really wanted to turn it into something that made it feel more ‘broken’. In that, I looked to some of my favorite artists and tracks that do just that to draw some inspiration.”

Zero Tep – “Believe You Me”

SH: “Zero Tep has been a favorite artist of mine, and (Kaelin/Zero Tep)’s work has led me to view music in a completely new way; I wanted to approach this remix similar to that. He actually ended up giving me some amazing feedback for the mixdown on this track, and that really brought it to the next level.”

Mad Zach – “No Past Lives”

SH: “I also wanted to embody similar energy and feeling of speed to the way that Mad Zach approaches his music, especially in the percussive elements as can be heard here in the song ‘No Past Lives.’”

Amnesia Scanner – “AS Too Wrong”

SH: “I processed Olivia’s vocals heavily and really looked to one of my favorites, Amnesia Scanner, for ways to do that that were unusual and intriguing.”

Lapsung – “Fuck Daylight”

SH: “I also included some music by Lapsung, as his granular synthesis and processing are some of my favorites —his creative use of distortion is also such an inspiration to me.”

Kai Whiston – “Brain Fritta”

SH: “Kai Whiston is another one of my favorite artists and a visionary in the ‘deconstructed club’ scene in my opinion. His track ‘Brain Fritta’ really draws in the energy of those heavily distorted synths and aggression that I tried to capture, as well as his use of guitars to create that driving feeling that is missing in a lot of heavier electronic music.”

Vic Mensa – “16 Shots”

SH: “I included the song ’16 Shots’ by Vic Mensa because this is song has literally given me goosebumps every time that I listen to it. The summer of 2020 was tense with protests, marching for equality and justice after the death of George Floyd, but I think that this song serves to remind people that racial injustice is nothing new to the black community  — it was just brought to light in a way that white people have been ignoring. Black lives have always mattered, but it’s about damn time that our country starts acting like it.”

QUIET BISON – “Thimble”

SH: “I followed this with a song by Quiet Bison that feels tense in a similar, albeit completely different, way to my ‘Fixed’ remix, and I thoroughly enjoy his conscious placement of melodic breaks to relieve that level of tension.”

Sega Bodega – “Kisses 2 My Phone”

SH: “Sega Bodega is another favorite of mine, and his music and sound design have consistently served as inspiration for my own.”

645AR – “Yoga”

SH: “The track ‘Yoga’ by 645AR really threw me off the first time that I heard it, but it has grown on me exponentially since then. I really appreciate the way that it allows for a commentary it what it means to push the boundaries of palatable music, and I have so much respect for 645AR in doing something so unusual and so authentic.”

SOPHIE – “Ponyboy”

SH: “I, of course, included a track by SOPHIE (may her soul rave in peace) because she really was – and still is in so many ways – a pioneer of both dance and pop music. The entire genre of ‘hyperpop’ wouldn’t have existed without her, and I am so grateful for all that she has shared with us.

Korn – “Falling Away From Me”

SH: “Last but not least  — yes, I ended with a song by Korn. I unironically love this band. I grew up in the ’90s listening to alternative, grunge, and nu-metal, and I never realized what an influence that has had on me and my musical approach until recently. A friend of mine once told me how the nu-metal scene was the last time that ‘the freaks’ were really in the mainstream spotlight and were accepted for being their authentic selves. I hope that someday we can get back to that acceptance of freakish authenticity a bit more.”