“Nothing lasts, you see, not even the thoughts inside you. And you musn’t waste your time looking for them. Once a thing is gone, that is the end of it.” – Paul Auster, ‘In The Country of Last Things’.
Taking inspiration from ‘In The Country of Last Things’, a 1987 novel written by Paul Auster, ‘Last Things’ seeks to isolate itself in the countryside, distancing itself from the fast pace of the urban lifestyle for something more contemplative and lonely; looking for the literal wilderness after dissatisfaction or unrest. Nature is beautiful and beneficial to one’s health and wellbeing, but it can also be vicious and unpredictable. The countryside can be relaxing and peaceful, but it can also catch someone unawares and leave them reeling, as audiences found out in The Blair Witch Project. A foreboding presence sticks to the prospect of isolation like glue; the stark, swaying branches and the yawning fields can sprout the genre of folk horror with ease, and seemingly without any additional help; it comes from their own design. This complete edition of Last Things takes up three discs and includes music recorded under his The Inventors of Aircraft moniker, further planting Phil Tomsett’s music in the soil.
Described as a ‘personal struggle through hum, thunder, and dread’, Last Things is something of an audio artefact, a recently unearthed relic which, when played back, translates Auster’s prose into an earthy type of music. Last Things has lain dormant, entrenched in the damp soil, for time immemorial, long enough to ingratiate itself with the song of the land and the rustling of the fields, only slightly decaying as it ages. Contentedness and a flowering of peace may be held in one hand, but the woods can also be wild, its cabins holding a wolf in disguise of a sweet grandmother.
Last Things moves from bejewelled beauty to monumental dread. In some ways, the music is like the exploration of an old house, deep in the country, where spiders have nestled and settled, and the floorboards creak with age, having not had a foot to press upon and upset its wood. Like a self-made contagion, loneliness seeps into the air, mingling with the gathering dreamcatchers of dust. Tracks such as ‘I Long For Days That Never Existed’ and ‘These Are The Last Things, She Wrote’ are indicative of the music having been through rough patches, and its moss-streaked textures seem to creep around the rooms with downcast body language, close to mourning with its lowered head as it looks to retreat back into its shell, locking and bolting the door to this great old house and never leaving, even as the growing vines slink over the windowsills and the day turns to dusk.