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Chasing Ghosts
  • Composed by Scott Glasgow
  • MovieScore Media / 2006 / 67m

A low-budget crime thriller released in 2005, Chasing Ghosts starred Michael Madsen as a cop chasing a serial killer with his rookie partner.
The film was one of the earliest to feature a score by Scott Glasgow, previously the assistant to Michael Tilson Thomas (and he had also worked with Christopher Young amongst others in film music).  In the years since he has emerged as an exciting voice – but it was as soon as MovieScore Media released this album back in 2006 that it first became clear how talented he was.  The album has an arresting start with the noirish main title immediately followed by the sensational lengthy action piece “SWAT Raid”, showcasing music notably well-orchestrated for all sections of the orchestra, but it’s the violin runs and occasional brass – with a hint of John Corigliano, perhaps via Elliot Goldenthal – that most impress.

As if that’s not enough, the third track raises things to even greater heights.  “Interrogation for Violin and Orchestra” blends a very moody, very modern soundscape with (unsurprisingly) a solo violin, a part greatly expressive both of emotion and of drama.  In “Parents”, there’s a new theme, an affecting low-key piano piece.  That opening part of the album, 16 minutes or so, is so forthright and bold, and indicative of what’s to come; indeed, Chasing Ghosts is one of the smartest and most impressive thriller scores of recent years.  There’s no shortage of overt thrills, no shortage of action (“The Sting Op” in particular is brilliant), but perhaps what really sets it apart is the growling menace which seems to lie underneath much of it, even when on the surface the music seems to be taking on a gentler air.  The classical sound running through it is great to hear; greater still, it sounds like a vibrant and vital modern action thriller film score, proving you don’t have to dumb down to make this sort of thing work.  Glasgow has developed a fine body of work in the years since, and Chasing Ghosts – his first soundtrack release – is right up there with the best.

Rating: **** | |

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