Fragments is a collection of 14 unreleased tracks. Some are old and have been reworked, some are
more recent. Some physically couldn't fit on a previous album, or they were replaced by alternative versions.
Fragments will be available as a limited edition, numbered, hand-assembled CD and digital download.
Available only through at Bandcamp from February 22nd 2019.
All tracks from Fragments can be licenced excusively through Split Music
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.
Any composer who develops their work over a period of years is inevitably going to end up with musical fragments that don’t make it onto a finished album. They could be tracks that were dropped due to the constraints of a physical release. Maybe they needed to be cut or altered to serve the overall narrative. Or, maybe they are simply diamonds in the rough, awaiting refinement and context before they can shine. But, sometimes what ends up on the cutting room floor can tell its own story and so it is with the latest release from Edinburgh-based musician & composer Graham Richardson as Last Days which features fourteen pieces culled from the twelve years during which he created such understated cinematic gems as Seafaring, Satellite, and The Safety of the North.
For an artist as expressive as Richardson, a pastiche of vignettes and souvenirs of musical journeys past would be always be a worthwhile endeavor, but somehow Fragments comes together in a way that feels holistically like much more than the sum of its sundry parts. While it is made up of pieces of many stories, its very existence tells yet another one of how an artist creates and of the common threads that run through his work. Thoughtfully arranged and bonded in a common aesthetic, Fragments is a journey unto itself and quite a moving & beautiful one at that. Fans of Richardson’s work will find this deeply rewarding while new listeners will no doubt find themselves motivated to reach back into his catalog for more.