[ELECTRONIC] If Asher Fulero has managed to avoid fame while simultaneously building an illustrious musical career, it can be attributed to the fact his energies are spread too thin to accommodate a self-promotional campaign.
A fashionably balding 35-year-old, Fulero quit his last day job in 2000, shortly after graduating from the University of Oregon’s composition program. He has since made a living based entirely on his various musical exploits. At times a session musician, singer-songwriter, jazz pianist, gospel composer, DJ and, when performing under the anagram Halo Refuser, an electronic-music producer, he has spent a manic decade-plus building a career just to the side of Portland’s pop-music spotlight. When queried about his current projects, he estimates they number “in the vicinity of 25 to 30.”
While collaborations with everyone from members of Phish to Los Lobos have kept the lights on, it wasn’t until the past three years that Fulero’s talent found a representative outlet.
“The idea with Halo Refuser was that I would have a project that would work in a dance club,” Fulero says. “The musical constituent started initially as a dumping ground for stuff that was just too weird for [previous electronic group] Surrounded by Ninjas.”
A gear junkie—he’s sponsored by Moog—in addition to being a fastidious composer, Fulero imbues Halo Refuser’s tracks with an obsessive ear for tone and a willingness to follow his own structural whimsy. The project borrows from the shorthand of dubstep, trance and at least three other electronic music microgenres, but the soundscapes in which Fulero trades belong to their own glitchy domain.
“When I’m making Halo Refuser music, I never start with an end goal in mind,” he says. “It’s very process-oriented.”
This “process” led to the release of three EPs within Halo Refuser’s first two years of activity. As these releases trickled through the electronic dance music world, Fulero found himself fielding offers to play gigs in locales as disparate as Mount Hood and Cairo.
Last year, he released his debut full-length, Ambigrammatic, to an immediate and enthusiastic response. The LP attracted the attention of several leading electronic-music labels, one of which, Global Vortex Records, he partnered with to release a single on the label’s 9/11 memorial compilation.
Despite Ambigrammatic’s success, Fulero views his status as an emerging “name” within popular music’s genre of the moment with nonchalance.
“In the long run, I feel like my goal is to be around and be present in the scene my whole life,” Fulero says. “Not to get really big and fade away, but to do as much stuff as I can and be known as somebody who’s amazing for that, instead of somebody who’s amazing for that one thing that they do.”
SEE IT: Halo Refuser plays Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E Burnside St., on Wednesday, Sept. 12, with Sporeganic and Potatofinger. 9 pm. $5. 21+.