Once a week at roughly 12pm Pacific Standard Time on Monday, a gentleman by the name of Clark Dinnison releases a mixtape of 10 carefully curated songs that are making big waves on his radar. This is Noon Pacific.
Noon Pacific // 181
- “Just Tell Me” by Nico Yaryan — A jazzy, smooth R&B track with subtle electronic influences. The tone and delivery of the vocals are occasionally reminiscent of Coldplay’s Chris Martin. The main guitar lick, bright and chirping, is just a touch repetitive.
- “Lonely Lullabies” by Kweku Collins — Opening on nothing but a tenderly picked guitar, this song quickly morphs into something you’re far from expecting. Soulful vocals, a booming programmed drum track, hand claps, vaguely cricket-like clicks, extreme vocal distortions, and more. It’s a busy song, it’s unexpected, and it works.
- “Make Them Wheels Roll” by SAFIA — This is a mellow track, indie electronica with a bit of a reggae influence. A steady drumbeat and an unanticipated guitar solo show off some rock roots.
- “Misantropé” by Westerman — Another guitar-opener, this time gently strummed acoustic. A sparse beat (largely beaten on the body of the guitar, I suspect), even sparser atmospheric electronics, and a spacey, ethereal, yet strong, vocal delivery round out a surprisingly full-bodied tune.
- “MERCURY” by YATES — This cut is dominated by rich, pulsating bass and a scattered, fleeting drum part. A very interested distorted horn synth type sound jumps in during the breakdown, the quirky, almost squirming, sound complimenting the smooth steadiness of the vocals.
- “All At Once” by Johanan — Two songs in one, this track has something of a personality disorder. Big brash horn sounds dominate the choruses, between which are snuggled these groovy smooth R&B verses. The breakdown is a whole other beast. Each personality works, but together they’re pretty dissonant.
- “Cruel Intentions” by JMSN — I’ve said “smooth R&B” a couple of times already today, so it’s at risk of becoming redundant. But that’s exactly what this track is, in the truest sense of the phrase. Silky bass, plucky piano, pure clean guitar, and a luxurious vocal delivery with just enough showboating.
- “I’m Gonna Tell You” by Barney Artist feat. Jordon Rakei — This track shares a lot with the previous, another silky R&B cut. Where JMSN went smooth, though, Barney Artist goes funky. The drums are more present and have a hip hop vibe to them, the verses are rapped, and the fuzz-heavy bass has a distinct staccato funk delivery.
- “Butter” by Weirdo — Boy, this song really buzzes along! Urgent cymbal-heavy drums, a bright bouncy bassline, talkative guitar, sultry understated vocals, and flourishes like whistles, organ, and a couple marimba solos, all driven by quite a quick tempo.
- “Stay Lost” by Joe Hertz feat. Amber-Simone — I’m sure if I say “smooth R&B” one more time I’m going to make somebody very annoyed, but there’s no helping it — this song is another great take on the genre. The drums fall in between JMSN and Barney Artist in prominence, the guitar plays a bigger roll, the bass picks up in a real funky way in the choruses, and tasteful electronics punctuate throughout.
Stand Outs: The indie rock urgency of Weirdo’s “Butter,” the layered and conflicting, but effective, complexity of “Lonely Lullabies” by Kweku Collins, and “Misantropé” by Westerman, with the way it makes a quiet song big, help these three tracks stand out in a major way.
Let Downs: It’s borderline schizophrenic sound land’s Johanan’s “Cruel Intentions” in the bottom this week. It was ambitious but it just didn’t work as a cohesive tune.
Verdict: Noon Pacific // 181 makes a showing that, despite a heavy R&B presence, illustrates the eclectic diversity the mixtape can have that I love so much. A very strong playlist, even this week’s let down has attractive elements.
Noon Pacific, a labor of love, is updated with a new 10-track mixtape every week. Sign up here — it’s totally free, and you’ll get an email notification every Monday when the new tape goes live.