I’ve been following former Red Goodbye guitarist and electronic music producer Zalex, since 2015, and I can honestly that he is one of the best ballad songwriters of this decade. A highly underrated independent artist, this singer and songwriter is an absolute craftsman when it comes to carving out a heartrending anthem that will tug and pull at your heartstrings. His songs are poignant and gentle as a soft summer breeze, yet they cut deep and hard with lyrics, harmonies and instrumentals that will make the hair on the back of your neck stand on end. Zalex always sounds so elegant and graceful in his emotion that you cannot help but end up being totally entangled inside his musical web, before you even realize it. He connects on a deep level with listeners through each and every one of his songs.
The latest single “Ghost”, does not deviate from any of the above rules, as Zalex once again looks at loss and longing, with a sharply focused eye and a heavy heart. His voice resonates with emotive clarity as he sings:
“I hope that you can understand / All the love we’ve always had / Won’t be lost / Because distance is space. I’ll come back from missing when I’m done / And life has had a chance to carry on / I don’t know where I’m going but / I need somewhere.” The care that went into crafting each detail of this record is apparent from the outset.
The sonic dynamics are a solid answer to the usual ‘mastered for iTunes loudness’ mindset, and features a striking landscape of organic peaks and valleys, ranging from piano gentleness to electric guitar flames. The caveat is that this is hardly what we’d call easy listening.
It won’t lend itself well to noisy environments; it’s tough to immerse yourself in Zalex’s world over the sound of chatting co-workers or beeping cash registers. But anyone patient enough to settle themselves into a quiet little corner and immerse themselves into “Ghost” will find a wealth of wonders to enjoy.
There’s nothing reluctant or halfhearted about the dreamy, impeccably rendered music on “Ghost”, which gets plenty of room to breathe over the course of it’s more than 4 minutes. Zalex loves to let his songs build to lavish melodic climaxes, and this does much the same thing.
Sweeping, but never bombastic crescendos, haunting string sections, delicate piano riffs and a fragile, yet fully loaded and lilting voice are the hallmarks of this emotional song. Lyrically “Ghost” is a stab to the heart. Melodically it’s gorgeous, both on piano and vocally.
Together they hold you by the throat for the full playing time before ultimately retreating back to quietness. You get the impression with Zalex’s music that he has his priorities set on musical credibility leading his songs to be genuine honest expressions.