Following the massive snub of Uncut Gems at the Academy Awards, I got to thinking about one of my favorite scores of 2019. Uncut Gems, released in December of 2019, is a crime-thriller based around a Jewish jewel and gambling addict working in New York City’s Diamond District, who acquires a rare and valuable gem using his money indebted to him by his loan-shark brother. The score is abstract and electronic, written by New York composer and electronic artist Daniel Lopatin.
The abstract score is not new with Uncut Gems, nor is it new to even the last decade of film. Horror and Sci-Fi movies have been pioneering this subgenre for the last 50 or so years, and one of my personal favorites is Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, which was revered for its dissonance and eeriness. No, Uncut Gems did not invent the abstract score, however, I believe it is a massive landmark in its history and one of the best examples out there. What makes this score so incredibly iconic is it’s subtlety and sparseness. I would describe this score as eighties orchestral electro-synth (Mannheim Steamroller esque) meets an 8-bit video game mystery, and it so perfectly compliments the film unlike any score I’ve heard before. It has elements of both EDM and traditional orchestral techniques, seamlessly blending the two together for an effortless and celestial atmosphere.
So what does this mean for the future of film scoring? Something incredibly exciting, to be sure. Uncut Gems is one of my favorite movies of last year, from the score to the camerawork to the script, it is a fantastic film and overall an exemplary work of art.
Check out Daniel Lopatin’s genius score HERE: