The Hypnotic ‘Uncut Gems’ Score Mashes Synth and Prog-Rock — Watch a Behind-the-Scenes Video

The "Uncut Gems" score is as frantic and panic-attack-inducing as the movie itself, and here the composer tells you how it was done.
oneohtrix point never

Uncut Gems” deserves an award for Most Stressful Theatrical Experience, and it’s cranked up to 11 thanks to composer Daniel Lopatin. He mashed synth sounds and elements of ’70s prog-rock to create a unique sonic environment that stands as its own work of art.

Lopatin is better known by his recording alias of Oneohtrix Point Never, and he previously soundtracked a Safdie Brothers film with 2017’s equally stressful “Good Time.” In a new documentary for Moog Music — know as a manufacturer of electronic instruments — Lopatin explains his process and innovative instrumentation in spinning this gritty urban thriller centered on Adam Sandler as Howard Ratner, a sad-sack jewelry dealer in over his head. Watch the video below.

“Howard Ratner is up against the clock, and there’s not a lot of time to figure out a whole lot of problems, and that essentially was mirrored in the studio. That kind of thing, it’s weird, but it does make its way into the music,” Lopatin said.

Of working in the recording studio with directors Josh and Benny Safdie — who were very hands-on throughout the process — Lopatin added, “You have to be so shameless. Unabashed, childlike studio tomfoolery is the only way to really get to this magical level.”

While the “Uncut Gems” soundtrack isn’t expected to earn an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Score, it’s certainly one of the most original pieces of film music in recent years. The soundtrack is currently available to stream on music platforms. Some journalists last month were lucky to receive a vinyl copy of the album courtesy of “Uncut Gems” distributor of A24; it sounds great as an LP with headphones on, or in stereo, accompanying your next manic cleaning spree.

Watch the Moog Music documentary featuring Oneohtrix Point Never here. Also check out a recent IndieWire conversation with Josh and Benny Safdie, who discuss making their wild and crazy movie, and the many rings of fire they had to jump through in order for it to all come together as they’d hoped — from casting Adam Sandler to almost casting Kobe Bryant in a role that ultimately went to Kevin Garnett, another NBA Hall of Famer.


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