Herman Dune “The Portable Herman Dune Vol. 2”

BB*Island, 2023

David Ivar’s second helping of re-imagined recordings from his back catalogue continues to deliver.

artwork for Herman Dune album "The Portable Herman Dune Vol. 2"Back in September of last year David Ivar, the artist that is Herman Dune, released the first of which will be a trilogy albums going under the moniker of ‘The Portable Herman Dune’. The inspiration for this venture was first construed during his weekly online performances during Covid where he would delve into his old songbook re-discovering and in many cases re-imagining tracks dating back to the beginning of the century which had now over time developed a greater sense of significance and maturity. Now, barely six months since the release of ‘Vol. 1’ we have ‘Vol. 2’ with a further thirteen songs recorded during the same session at Ivar’s own Santo Cruz recording studio in Los Angeles all stripped back to the bone enabling the listener to discover a different prospective within the more exposed lyrical narrative.

The sparse arrangements are made up mostly of Ivar’s weatherworn vocals, guitar, and mandolin with the occasional additional support such as from Jolie Holland on violin who’s contribution on the opening track ‘My Home Is Nowhere Without You’ a track that originally featured on the album ‘Next Year In Zion’ from 2008, helps to emphasise the melancholic atmosphere. Ivar also receives help with the vocals throughout the album, firstly by his partner Mayon Hanania on the songs ‘Show Me the Roof’ and the current single from the album ‘Undiscovered Jacaranda’ a track that first appeared on the album ‘Santa Cruz Gold’ which came out early last year. On both tracks Hanania’s voice wraps around Ivar’s, gently caressing his gravelled prose like a warm summer’s breeze. Also on vocal duties is Julia Doiron who adds a touch of sweetness to the defiant ‘With a Fist Full Of Faith’, while Kimya Dawson’s duet with Ivar on the sublime ‘Sheer Wonder Baby’ is one of the album’s standout tracks.

What lies at the very heart of this project is the desire to reintroduce the poetic storytelling within these songs from their previous incarnation using a more meagre arrangement to reposition the focus thus allowing a greater lucidity exposing both the fragility and jeopardy that haunts the space between word and breath. This album draws on material that spans over twenty years from ‘By The Door Of The Temple’  that first saw the light of day as far back as 2000 on ‘They Go To The woods’ right through to last year’s aforementioned ‘Santa Cruz Gold’ and it is a measure of its success that at no time does it feel like a ‘Best Of’ or ‘Greatest Hits’ package but rather as an album that confidently stands on its own merits and as a worthy addition to the canon of Herman Dune.

8/10
8/10

About Graeme Tait 116 Articles
Hi. I'm Graeme, a child of the sixties, eldest of three, born into a Forces family. Keen guitar player since my teens, (amateur level only), I have a wide, eclectic taste in music and an album collection that exceeds 5.000. Currently reside in the beautiful city of Lincoln.
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Alan Peatfield

A new name to me Graeme. And wow, what an excellent track. Definitely an artist to explore further. Thanks for this.