“The Accidental Artist” by Guitarist/Producer Ian Bouras
“The Accidental Artist” is Ian Bouras’ latest single release and his instrumental prowess remains as potent as ever. Bouras wrote this particular piece for the PVD International Looping Festival and it is as fine an example of looping effects used with guitar. Bouras utilizes two different Holzer six-strings during “The Accidental Artist” along with his pedals and a Crate amplifier. It is superficially difficult to imagine that a guitarist can create a fully-realized instrumental from such scant resources, but Bouras blows that preconception out of the water.
His musicianship is unquestionable. He began his professional life playing reggae and rock in the band AñaVañA during the early 2000’s and achieved a fair amount of notoriety. He’s since worked on the production side of things along with his musical projects. Bouras has accomplished much of this despite living with the rare neurological condition Ataxia. The ailment’s development altered the way he played guitar but opened new vistas.
You hear those here. The slow development of the track’s melodic ideas will test the patience of few listeners; it gives the music an inward-looking air. “The Accidental Artist” has a contemplative edge though it never sounds inert. His production skills frame the cut in the best possible light. Bouras has written a track that grabs listener’s attention from outset, but it’s never overpowering.
His video for the song is a perfect compliment. Bouras has released music videos before and they are defined, in part, by the stripped down quality of the footage. The same sense of high stakes conveyed by his music is present, as well, in the video’s presentation. It isn’t self-conscious or afflicted with arty seriousness, but the sober and focused way Bouras approaches the performance makes clear its importance to him.
Switching guitars late in the performance comes off seamlessly. It’s an unusual move and some will debate its usefulness, but it’s hard to believe many listeners will find the decision falls flat. Few other performers would dare; it could have the effect of fracturing the song in two but, instead, Bouras’ artistic steadiness holds it together. It’s been an abiding quality of his career and continues to strengthen his work.
“The Accidental Artist” undoubtedly will make some waves. It’s another peak moment for the guitarist’s career and it’s notable how he often accomplishes as much with a single track that other musicians achieve with an EP or more. His neurological condition is an important part of his story, yes, but it’s only a fraction. No one should allow it to define his musical success.
He won’t ever collar multi-million dollar endorsement, play Super Bowl halftime shows, or grace your favorite commercial. It isn’t Ian Bouras’ trip. This is an artist committed to writing and recording music that matters rather than just entertaining listeners. His new single and video is resounding victory he can celebrate for some time, but let’s hope he’s already writing something new. Few musicians harbor his eloquent emotional power and fewer still are such attentive stewards of their gifts.