[sic] Magazine

Last Days – Fragments

For over 12 years Graham Richardson has been releasing his compositional acoustronica under the name Last Days (See also St Kilda) I first reviewed his debut Sea for Atlanta based webzine Evilsponge. Since then our careers have grown up alongside each other. We’ve covered every release since then, five major works, in fact for the specialist imprint n5MD, each building upon the last and each grappling with related themes albeit in different settings. Fragments is a compendium of all the pieces that didn’t quite fit those main releases. You know, the type of bundle fans beg for. The reasoning for (initial omission) is variously due to pacing, thematic placing or sheer length.

Travel remains a consistent theme for Last Days. (Think more Ernest Shackleton than Thomas Cook.) Discovery might be a better word. Whether Richardson places his voyages upon land, air or sea there’s always been the feeling that it is the self that is most being discovered. This is music which would lend itself easily to film soundtracks. There’s a quiet and stillness to much of this collection. ‘Reverberation’ could easily be a Max Richter cutting whilst the ecclesiastical ‘Postscript’ recalls the late, great Jóhann Jóhannsson. Both have graced Film Scores. Sometimes the same film! (Arrival) I think Richardson could venture seamlessly into that arena himself.

Fragments is by turns, solid and superb. I don’t know the chronology of the tracks compiled here. Although some titles give me a decent hint I didn’t bother trying to play ‘guess the session’. There was no real need. Richardson has done a terrific job in assembling this record as an album in its own right. Yes it is for the most part a downtempo reflective collection but it still hangs together extremely well. Something as gentle as ‘Langdale (night)’ is so understated yet equally beautiful. To think that these are the mans ‘cuttings’, that is testament alone to the quality of his work.