ALBUM PREMIERE: Windscale by Last Days

From the very first album Graham Richardson released under the moniker of Last Days 17 years ago until now, the Edinburgh-based composer and sound artist has created music that can be described as cinematic in the truest sense. Deftly blending tone, texture, and melody in the service of clear-eyed narrative themes, each release is sonically unique yet sharply focused and cohesive in the story it has to tell. There is no better example than his latest record which centers on the world’s first major nuclear disaster which occurred at the Windscale reactor and plutonium production plant in North West England in 1957.

Through its expository track titles and inventive sound sourcing and arrangements, Windscale soundtracks a montage of pivotal moments in the heralded facility’s ill-fated timeline from its “Arrival” in the town of Seascale in 1947 to the frightening “Fallout” that ensued when the core of one of the reactors overheated causing a fire which resulted in radioactive material to be released over the UK and Europe.

From the early promises of free energy to the core’s fire and the resulting aftermath, the album plays as a cautionary tale that mirrors concerns of the modern day. Through this narrative, Richardson aurally experiments in ways that amplify the retro-futurist nature of nuclear energy while displaying a melancholic empathy for those that experienced the accident firsthand.


Without words or images, Richardson effectively conveys the full scope and scale of this harrowing event (no pun intended) through music alone from the foreboding crackle and fizz of humming static and siren-like synths to poignant melancholic interludes and sweeping string sections that speak to its sobering human cost. Ahead of its release on Friday, you can listen to this compelling work for yourself in this full album preview.

Links: Bandcamp (CD/DL) | n5MD artist page

Windscale will be released March 24, 2023 on CD & digital by n5MD featuring artwork by Graham Richardson.