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Landscapers

TV Series (2021)

HBO/Sky Atlantic/Sister Pictures/South of the River
Director: Will Sharpe
Producer: Katie Carpenter

A devoted and mild-mannered British couple become the focus of an extraordinary investigation when two dead bodies are discovered in the back garden of a house in England.

At the heart of Landscapers is a tension between reality and fiction, between the sinister true story of a double murder and Susan’s romanticised view of her relationship with Chris, stemming from an infatuation with classic cinema, especially Westerns, and their male protagonists. The director was keen for the score to convey this tension, to colour the couple in different shades so we’re never quite sure if we’re on their side or not, and to bring the audience into the world of Landscapers and Susan’s inner psychology.

More classical leaning orchestral themes and instrumentation, led by melodic strings and woodwinds, carry the romance of Susan’s fantasies, but are undercut by the more macabre elements that represent the murky shape-shifting ambiguity of the truth, such as discordant brass and bassoons playing in their darker upper ranges. Percussion built out of non-musical objects like metal chairs, desk lamps, even leeks, as well as the clanging of distant industrial works and processed recordings of the wind, all bring uneasy unfamiliar textures which disturb Susan’s Hollywood idyll. While the female vocal brings a sense of scale that echoes Susan’s inner journey – at first troubled, standing accused of a murder that haunts her, though later developing a quiet heroism almost as we begin to see a certain courage in her survival as a victim.

The combination of these traditional and non-traditional elements, mirroring Susan’s mind at both its happiest and most unsettled, aimed to produce a musical score that shared the series’ bold creative vision.