Artist Name: Neal Fox Title: A Message From Shanghai Genre: Progressive Pop
Digital Performer 9.5, 2010 Mac Pro, Apogee Firewire Duet, KRK monitors, Klipsch THX monitors, iPhone w/ and w/out earbuds, M-Audio Sputnik, AKG C-414, Spectrasonics Omnisphere, Vienna String Library, Waves keyboards. Schecter and Takamine guitars.
“A Message From Shanghai” is a male vocal “Progressive” pop song composed, recorded and performed by Neal Fox.
Reviewed By Marty Peters
This month’s Spotlight is a poignant ballad featuring a dynamic arrangement full of shadow and light. Neal is no stranger to us here at Readers Tracks. We reviewed an earlier submission of his back in 2021 and were impressed with its overall quality. Let’s look at what improvements he’s made since then that have lifted this effort up to Spotlight quality. The intro is a wonderful atmospheric blend of piano/keys, percussion and guitar that is soon joined by the lead vocals.
We were quite impressed with the quality of the sounds here, particularly the piano generated from Neal’s Waves softsynths choices. The lead vocal was well recorded and presented in the mix. The addition of a slight well-executed tap delay was a nice touch. Things continue to build momentum through the song when some truly lovely backing vocals enter the proceedings––one of the highlights of the recording!
We found the drum programming creative and tasty, with a cool ambiance that gives the drums a unique voice while maintaining their integrity in the mix. Kudos also on the lead guitar solo. Not only was the performance happening, but the tone and levels were spot on.
From there, the track slowly returns to its more stripped-down intro form…We’ll not so fast! Neal pulls a fast one on us at the 4:10 mark, where with nary any time left in the track, he not only returns to the full arrangement but tosses in a key modulation to boot! Fantastic Neal, well played, sir!
While listening to “A Message From Shanghai”, we actually forget that this was one person doing it all. Neal wears all of the hats here, and he does a damn fine job of it too! An excellent blueprint for the majority of us in the same situation.
Neal Fox, email@example.com