Plenty of films and series these days come accompanied by a score that blends the electronic and the organic — typically synths and a full orchestra with percussion (or at least synths and some strings and piano). However, the end result isn’t always a truly meaningful complement to the image on screen. Sometimes it just sounds like everyone is pulling from the same pile of library cues.
Not so with the underrated Austrian-born, London-based Walter Mair and his captivating score for the new Apple TV+ series Liaison, starring the inimitable duo of Eva Green and Vincent Cassel. Mair seamlessly weaves synths and orchestra together in a memorable and engaging way that rather perfectly complements the striking ebbs and flows of the thriller, romantic, and action-oriented elements of the show. (Liaison is about a pair of French spies and former lovers fighting cyberattacks in the UK, and evaluating their own past while doing it. The cast is utterly stellar and the suspense goes straight to your heartbeat.)
I’ll say a bit more about it later, but first watch this video of Mair and director Stephen Hopkins discussing some key musical expressions and modalities from the six-episode series. It’s a really cool look into the world of Mair’s artistry.
A good theme is key for any film or series and The Bricklayer and The Unfamiliar composer doesn’t disappoint on Liaison, offering a swirling crescendo that leans heavily into his expert blend of the synthetic and the organic to present a memorable, minor-key theme.
One thing I like about it (and his score in general) is that he’s not trying to do all the work of managing the viewers’ emotions. He really is building off the picture and story. Like I wrote above, the Till Death composer is underrated. People throw that term around all the time now, when they really mean “people I follow on social media aren’t posting enough about person X.” However, I contend that Mair isn’t getting enough gigs and enough recognition, and it’s about time this changes.
Take a listen to cues like the pulsating and often weird “Good Day Mr. President,” the fuzzily serpentine “European Headquarters,” and the dynamic ear cinema of “A Sacrifice.” The composition and execution fit the series perfectly, but the score retains a distinct character and voice that elevates it in a rare feat of complementary memorability.
Ultimately, Mair’s Liaison score is a stunning body of work that is as rewarding on its own as it is when it serves to bring out the intricacies of a fascinating story.
(Worth noting: Mair recorded the score in London at Abbey Road Studios and Air Studios.)
Liaison: Season 1 (AppleTV+ Original Series Soundtrack) is available now via your favorite streaming platforms from Lakeshore Records. The show is, of course, streaming now on AppleTV+.