If you’ve ever had the privilege to meet a composer you’d recognize the amazing attention to detail they possess. It is a truly amazing talent many wish they could harness. The ability to weave together several different instruments to speak in unison is called upon the world over through many different mediums. From hiding in the pits on Broadway, to prestigious live performances, and off screen in movies, the art that is masterly formed is seldom notice, yet takes control of us driving the mood for our experience. Hardly living the limelight lifestyle rock stars display on a daily basis, putting a face to the name can be rather tricky for a composer. They tend to stand behind their music and allow it to be their face.
Meticulous composition in the note of cursedness and violence was the fuel for this first full album release by Ash Black Bufflo; from the talent that has performed with Dolorean, Holy Sons, and the Standard, but most recently combining forces with Jeff Malmberg to release the critically acclaimed documentary Marwencol. Spanning the realms of consciousness with tracks such as “Tulsa Slut,” “Greatness Strikes Where it Pleases,” and “Cheeseburger Tragedy Desert Crash in Chrome” we’re faced with an expansive array of instruments and landscapes.
Through each track you are taken on a self discovering journey through worldly sounds, mixing occasionally with dark spoken words and ever-changing beats. To encompass the thought process of this album, you need not look further than the opening track “Come Back,” speaking “I cared about telling some tales, in the language of the people of my region.” Setting up the story you are about to be told through the eyes of a composer who masterfully crafts his images in a sometimes Cirque du Soleil style refrain.
To truly understand this album I realized that the run of the mill listen would not work. I needed to step away from the usual listening and find an experience. As it happened, I had the opportunity to listen to it front to back while standing in a rainstorm; by chance, not necessarily choice. I realize this is a very unique situation that not all will take the time to experience, however, it created a very surreal mind clearing 57 minutes. This was most certainly the right album at the right time.
As with most compositionally driven artistic albums, it is not for the most casual listener. However, for those willing to expand their tastes and experience a trip outside their comfort zone, this will certainly deliver. Andasol is not an album compiled in a race to release. Working for the last five years to artfully craft these 18 tracks, the Portland, Oregon resident whose scores have appeared around the world in theater and movies, will finally bow onto the world stage on May 24th with through Knitting Factory Records.
For your continued reading pleasure:
Knitting Factory sat down with Jay Clarke, the experimentalist behind Ash Black Bufflo to learn more about the album and was kind enough to grace us with this conversation.