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Guitarist Ian C. Bouras releases “IMP (Live at Utica Brews)”

Noise, ambient and experimental music definitely aren’t for everyone – much like the other forms of surreal, postmodern and existential art in this world, left-field alternative music is an acquired taste (and an even harder medium for many performers to successfully utilize to their own advantage). That said, if there’s one artist I’ve personally listened to in the last year that hasn’t had a difficult time making the process of his art sound rather simple and seamless, it’s Mr. Ian C. Bouras, whose new live record “IMP (Live at Utica Brews)” is worth its weight in gold. “IMP” is an improvisational piece unassumingly more emotional than most any standard work I’ve heard in a long time, and it’s raising more than a couple of eyebrows in the American underground right now. 


Try as you might, you aren’t going to find any of the typical pretentiousness that often comes in spades within a record of this type. Over 47 minutes long and lacking any of the features that normally wind up in a master ambient tape, “IMP (Live at Utica Brews)” really is a live recording, and it has every last rough edge one would expect out of such a piece. You can tell that Bouras isn’t trying to cover anything in the post-production process here; there’s a fuzziness to some of the textures that leaks into the melody about 36 minutes in, and by the 20 minute mark, it’s clear he isn’t going to adjust tempo merely to relieve tension building on the backend of the EQ. This is as organic as it gets, and I personally can’t get enough. 

The string play in this track is the foundation of everything, no question about it, but I also think the foggy noise in the backdrop is what ultimately shapes the emotionality of the music more than anything else does. There’s no words for what it feels like, but this dim sound of ripping white texture forced into some kind of a tonal force is almost symbolic of maturity and aging, alluding to elements of mortality that poetry can’t sum up anyway. Ian C. Bouras is thinking like a real experimentalist in “IMP,” and if there were any doubters who weren’t sure about his authenticity before the release of this material, I believe they’re going to feel a lot differently once they’ve heard his latest and greatest. 


Complex and profoundly anti-mainstream in every department that actually counts for something, to say that Ian C. Bouras’ “IMP (Live at Utica Brews)” is a treat for those of us who live and die on the left side of the dial might not be doing it the justice this music deserves. This has all the hallmarks of being a staple work of his discography, and perhaps a good way of introducing some newer audiences to what he can really accomplish when there aren’t any distractions placed in front of him. Live records can be persona-defining, and though I’m not 100% certain, I think that could well be the case with this piece. 

Mindy McCall



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