Of Scalpels and Synthesizers: The Music of THE KNICK


In the context of 1900s New York, (the musical score) is so blatantly anachronistic as to risk undermining any possible suspension of disbelief the director might have achieved through the show’s painstaking set design and costuming. And this may well be the point.

I’m quite looking forward to the return of THE KNICK in a few months (check out the Season 2 teaser trailer HERE). Though not without its faults, the show is beguiling, especially in its remarkably organic potrayal of the early 1900s as a setting. It can be seen as a bit of an artistic ‘passion project’ of Steven Soderbergh as he dedicates himself to each episode as director, cinematographer, and editor (though he is credited in the latter two capacities under pseudonyms for some reason). Soderbergh’s close involvement makes for a tightly consistent series. Also remarkable is Cliff Martinez’s revelatory ‘out of time’ score. When I watched the first episode I honestly was initially thrown off by the music, and I was worried the accompanying cold and rigidly sequenced synthesizer score would keep me from immersing myself in the show’s time period. I was wrong. This excellent analysis of Cliff Martinez’s score delves in to just what makes it work.

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