After playing keys in the post-rock group Delorean, Jay Clarke moved to composing plays and doing soundtracks. Recording on his own as Ash Black Bufflo, his debut is a broad, meticulously constructed sketch pad of 18 instrumentals, made up of composed pieces or sound beds, rather than indie pop/rockers. Andasol was five years in the making, and according to the liners, inspired by the folk operas Las Fantasmas, Manas Machadas, and Cabra Mala. It is this wide range of reference points that makes Clarke's debut so interesting. He manipulates the studio to blend electronic loops with orchestral movements, to take a song like "Misery Is the Pilgrim’s Pasture" from a clappy worldbeat rhythm in the vein of Animal Collective to a thick Vivaldi classical arrangement. Andasol twists with the randomness of a sketch pad. While certain parts are too wide and aimless for everyday listening, and others may veer a little too close to new age for a pop audience, it’s well suited for background music that could make for a great potential reel, if Clarke continues scoring movies. “Cheeseburger Tragedy Desert Crash in Chrome” is tailor-made for a spaghetti western, “Heron Lake” is a horror cut, with creepily spoken serial killer vocals over tense strings, and “Tulsa Slut” could be a long lost theme from a classic ‘60s French film. Over the course of Andasol, Ash Black Bufflo paints just about every mood possible.
AllMusic Review by Jason Lymangrover