[A NEW VOICE] Plodding glitch-hop is not what you expect to hear right up front on Halo Refuser's third full-length, Into Your Layers: The album's title and pastoral cover suggest romantic bedroom themes. But if there's one thing you should know about Asher Fulero, the Portland producer who's been behind the project for six years, it's to expect the unexpected. Fulero doesn't bend genres so much as effortlessly channel a half-dozen or more of them. There's the downtempo dub of "Forest Spores," the monster-truck-sized breaks in "Symbolizer" and buttery, spiritual trip-hop in "Soul Searching." His production muscles are flexed impressively throughout Into Your Layers, but it's his voice—making its debut—that brings it together. "Waiting for me/ Just like I knew you would be," he calls out on the airy and passionate "Folding Me Up." Halfway through the album, his romantic target has finally taken shape. Fulero heavily relies on post-production effects to achieve variation in his voice, but with pipes as technical and confident as his—think somewhere just south of Todd Edwards—it's not for lack of ability. Fulero has a point to prove: Artists of all stripes need not be confined by genre or theme. It's an argument that works well, and goes down all the more smoothly when there's a voice to the beats.
SEE IT: Halo Refuser plays Star Theater, 13 NW 6th Ave., with Takimba, Guda and Ninjamonk, on Thursday, Aug. 21. 9 pm. $10. 21+.