REVIEW: Ian Bouras — The Accidental Artist (SINGLE)

Ian Bouras has no aims of becoming a guitar hero or pop star. Thank god. I believe we’ve had enough of both to last us all several lifetimes. Bouras is interested in art with a capital A. It isn’t the sort of art that’s drained of its spirit while embracing technical skill; his new single “The Accidental Artist” connects with the mind and body without ever landing in a heavy-handed way with listeners.


The new composition was written for the PVD International Looping Festival and sounds like ideal fare. Bouras’ writing style is largely improvised but it’s clear he has a handful of clear ideas driving the arrangement. Some listeners may knee-jerk dismiss his reliance on looping, the device is rife throughout his discography, but few will claim it is a gimmick. He uses looping as another instrument. It expands the musical possibilities of his guitar and, considering the dearth of instrumental diversity in his work, it broadens the sound.

Accomplishing this in the face of an Ataxia diagnosis is even more impressive. The rare neurological condition impacts Bouras’ life, of course, and didn’t leave his guitar playing ability unscathed. He adapted, however. The condition never fractured his passion to create and, ultimately, that’s the story of Bouras’ work.

His ongoing determination to create and build on his past work underlies every note of “The Accidental Artist”. The new track has all of the usual earmarks of his music. The same focus on melody, albeit far from your typical popular music melody, grabs listeners early. His deliberate and delicate touch on the guitar further accentuates the usual assortment of effects. Yet there is much more structural definition than I’ve heard in previous Bouras’ tracks.

The method of using looping technology in such a way isn’t groundbreaking, but it doesn’t purport to be. Instead, it expands the guitar’s aural canvas rather than relying on a straight-forward and more limited sound. He has the careful consideration of an artist rather than a hit the strings hard and take no prisoners sensibility.

The song’s video takes place in a seemingly rural setting, a very home-y cabin perhaps. It helps deepen the relaxed tone of the track without ever lulling you to sleep. It is a visual experience, but never in an ostentatious sense. There’s no eye-candy attracting listeners or so forth. Instead, the visuals exude a warm and inviting feeling. It’s another reflection of the serious intent he brings to his work, but those intentions never weigh down the performance.


“The Accidental Artist” reflects well on Ian Bouras’ creative journey. I believe that his Ataxia-related struggles have exerted a greater change on him as an individual rather than a musician; his tireless advocacy for others dealing with the issue attests to that. He is, nevertheless, a virtual case study in great musician’s skill in adapting to physical limitations or health considerations. He never allowed it to impair his art; on the contrary, it has enriched it immeasurably. I eagerly await his next release.

Colin Jordan