For the follow-up to the acclaimed They Kind of Shine (including songs featured on television series "One Tree Hill"), Hiraga sequestered himself on Seattle's nearby Vashon Island in a spacious woodland studio and set to writing and recording, far from the distractions of the city. Although several Downpilot alumni would later make cameos, the feeling from the start was that this would be a more intimate, solo-style album. With his arsenal of self-made recording equipment and surrounded by an extensive collection of vintage keyboards and other instruments, the multi-instrumentalist recorded ideas in a spontaneous, stream-of-consciousness fashion. After a solitary week the foundation was laid for the 4th Downpilot LP: New Great Lakes. Singer/songwriter Paul Hiraga may not have set out to revisit his Midwestern roots, but if you listen closely you can hear the wind whipping off the great plains, or the desperation of the industrial rust belt. The disorienting sights and sounds and sentiments of displacement, made all the more profound because you never expected to be displaced (or distanced) from the place that you disowned.
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