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England's Landscape were a cutting-edge new wave outfit, known for their wry, often humorous, concept-driven synth pop. Emerging in the late '70s, Landscape broke through with their 1981 album From the Tea-Rooms of Mars...To the Hell-Holes of Uranus, which featured the hits "Einstein a G-Go" and "Norman Bates." Following 1982's Manhattan Boogie Woogie they parted ways. Formed in 1975 in London, Landscape initially featured Richard James Burgess (vocals, drums, keyboards, programming), Andy Pask (bass), Chris Heaton (keyboards), John Walters (keyboards, woodwinds), and Pete Thoms (trombone, keyboards, vocals). Prior to founding Landscape, the London-born Burgess had grown up in Christchurch, New Zealand, where he started playing drums in his teens and making home recordings. After high school, he paired his interest in electronics with music, studying at both Berklee College of Music in Boston and London's Guildhall School of Music and Drama. By the early '70s, he had joined the soft rock band Easy Street, with whom he scored a Hot 100 hit with 1976's "I've Been Loving You." It was around this time that he launched Landscape, building a following through a bevy of live shows and releasing two instrumental EPs: 1977's U2XME1X2MUCH and 1978's Workers' Playtime. After signing to RCA, they released their debut album, the eponymously titled Landscape, which again featured all-instrumental tracks. Embracing vocals and a more pop-oriented sound, Landscape returned in 1980 with From the Tea-Rooms of Mars...To the Hell-Holes of Uranus. The album showcased their tongue-in-cheek conceptualism in the vein of Kraftwerk and Devo. Along with spawning the single "European Man," they scored a Top Five U.K. hit with "Einstein A-Go-Go" and reached number 40 with "Norman Bates," a tribute to Alfred Hitchcock's classic horror film Psycho. A third album, Manhattan Boogie Woogie, followed in 1982 and featured an even more dance-influenced sound. However, after the album's release, both Heaton and Thoms left the band to pursue solo careers. By 1983, the group had pared down to a trio, featuring Burgess, Pask, and Walters. Renaming themselves Landscape III, they released two more singles with "So Good, So Pure, So Kind" and "You Know How to Hurt Me," before breaking up in 1984. Following the end of Landscape, Burgess pursued a fruitful production, working with bands like Spandau Ballet, Adam Ant, New Edition, Praise, and more.
© Matt Collar /TiVo
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