The Knick Soundtrack – Cliff Martinez

the-knick-soundtrackSteven Soderbergh’s new series on Cinemax, The Knick, is a period drama about the staff of a New York hospital in the early 20th century. But, unlike most historical dramas, it features a modern electronic score, by Cliff Martinez.

“As usual, Steven and I rarely spoke and instead communicated via mental telepathy,” said Martinez. “In so many words he told me: ‘We’re all going to recreate early 1900s New York as authentically as possible…except for you. I want the music to be modern and electronic.’”

Martinez – a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee as a member of the Red Hot Chili Peppers – has previously scored Soderbergh’s films, including Sex, Lies & Videotape & Solaris, Spring Breakers, Drive and others.

His experience with television scoring, though, was limited. He had previously scored an episode of Pee Wee’s Playhouse.

“Working on a TV series was a round-the-clock-for-10-weeks endeavor for me. Lots of coffee…not so much sleep,” said Martinez of his first real foray into composing for an episodic television series.  “There’s nothing like a 10-hour series to help you squeeze the maximum mileage out of all your musical themes!”

Here’s a video preview:

“For The Knick, I revisited a time-honored Soderbergh/Martinez tradition that I like to call ‘one thing,’” Martinez added. “I try very hard to score an entire scene using only one sound or instrument. It’s difficult and I usually end up cheating and using more. But by limiting the number of elements, I’m always guaranteed an expressively minimalist and fat-free soundtrack.”

Here are several queues from the soundtrack:

The Knick soundtrack is available via Amazon, iTunes and other retailers.


  1. Son of Placenta Previa
  2. I’m In The Pink
  3. Placental Repair
  4. Finish Your Breakfast
  5. Thus Speak Thack The Wise
  6. Never Read Him
  7. Aortic Aneurysm Junior
  8. Goodnight Nurse Elkins
  9. Drizzled Him Good
  10. Not Leaving This Circus
  11. Falling Off a Bicycle Plus
  12. Call Me Dad
  13. Fire It Up Again
  14. Pretty Silver Stitches
  15. Douse This
  16. New Standard Hernia Procedure
  17. Sail To Europe
  18. Abscess
  19. My Book
  20. Will It Hurt


8 thoughts on “The Knick Soundtrack – Cliff Martinez

  1. I usually like Martinez work but I found the soundtrack completely inappropriate, too loud, too repetitive and a total distraction (enough already with the arpeggiator!). To the point that I’ve stopped watching the show.

  2. congrats to the director for pushing through this soundtrack. it is not easy listening and makes me feel uneasy immediately – which goes perfectly well with the picture and its intention. not for the crowd, though.

    1. If he could convince his producers that casting Sasha Grey in the lead role of a non-porn movie is a good choice then pushing for this soundtrack should’ve been a breeze. Unlike Grey however this choice payed off. It’s a great soundtrack that in my opinion blends seamlessly with the scenes. It doesn’t feel out of place, nor does it take over the picture.

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