The Knick: Season 2

Musical Score By: Cliff Martinez

Distributed by: Milan Records

Reviewed by Melissa Minners


                Set in Manhattan in 1901, the second season of the popular Cinemax drama, The Knick, finds Dr. John Thackery (Clive Owen) hospitalized for his cocaine addiction.  That, in addition to a lack of affluent patients and financial missteps by the powers that be, have led to the board’s decision to close The Knick in favor of a new building uptown.  As the relocation plans proceed, Dr. Algernon Edwards (Andre Holland) makes his move to become Thackery’s successor as chief of surgery while fellow doctors, nurses, nuns and administrators struggle with the challenges presented them at work and home. 

                Taking up the reins once again to compose the musical score of the second season of The Knick is Cliff Martinez, punk scene performing artist and film and television composer.  Having performed with notable artists such as the Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Weirdos, Lydia Lunch and Foetus and Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band, Martinez has a less than traditional approach to scoring.  Some of his most notable scoring endeavors which began in 1989 with Sex, Lies and Videotape include Traffic, Narc, Solaris, The Limey, Wonderland, Wicker Park, Drive, Arbitrage, Spring Breakers and The Company You Keep.

                The Knick: Season 2 Soundtrack is much in keeping with the electronic score Martinez created for the first season.  According to the composer, “I thought the music from last year was scary good…Then when Steven edited the new episodes around that music, in many instances it felt even stronger than in its original incarnation. It seemed impossible to top. After such attention to musically creating the atmosphere of The Knick in the first season, the second season allows for a deepening of the tonally anachronistic world.”  Thus, the modern sound of the electronic score representing the cutting-edge medicine being performed at The Knick. 

Tracks like Sonia and I Set Her Up (Fat-Free Remix) contain reversed and strange sounds.  At first, I thought these sounds might be used to describe Dr. Thackery’s cocaine-induced state, but in doing a little research, I’m more inclined to think that these sounds are actually being used to depict the twisted mind of one of the characters (I don’t want to give plot twists up, in case someone hasn’t yet seen the second season).

I rather enjoy the electronic musical score created for The Knick by Cliff Martinez.  It’s unexpected, given the timeframe of the series, yet it still works when you think of the kind of advanced medicine being performed at the hospital at the time.  Great stuff by Cliff Martinez!


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