Radio Ghost

TR 319CD TR 319CD

Seattle-based artist Paul Hiraga on his first album since 2011's New Great Lakes (TR 221CD/LP): "I was not sure if I would release another album, but these things cannot be buried. Time heals, experience colors the narrative, desire swells and wanes and resurges. There is always movement, away from the past with a heavy-heartedness, and towards something hopeful." When recording for this album began, Downpilot's Paul Hiraga found himself inspired by a drawing his father had made for him from memory of the same mountain that he had drawn many times as a child while living in an internment camp for Japanese Americans in one of the deserts of California and Nevada during World War II. The result was the song "Day of the Long Sun," which became a touchstone for the album. This mood inspired Hiraga to go back in time to the small town in California where his father was born and imagine life on the West Coast in another era. As in the songs "Rosaline" and "My Paper Sons" (which takes its title from a term for Chinese immigrants who forged documents to become citizens after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and resultant fires), a tone for the album was set, creating a swirling, hot, and dusty backdrop. With tinges of psychedelia and Hiraga's dominant melodic sense guiding the trip, the album travels through shadowy and haunting places, and emerges with hopeful vision and a hard-won freedom. Recorded on vintage analog gear and divided into two sides in the tradition of the best classic vinyl, Radio Ghost leads off with the title-track, with its lively syncopated beat and Farfisa organ lending a mysterious and somewhat Middle Eastern tonality, moving through the slightly sinister "Reno" to the soulful and cathartic "Hallowed Ground." The second half of the album ventures into more trippy and cinematic landscapes, culminating in the slow burn and build of epic album-closer "Suzanne (The Silence)." Much like such artists as Tame Impala's Kevin Parker and Kurt Vile, Hiraga records nearly all the instruments himself, from real vintage drums and slide guitars to analog keys, and delivers an album in the tradition of Jeff Buckley, Big Star's Alex Chilton, and Gene Clark.