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 // 184
- “Carpet” by Frenship — A real late ‘80s-early ‘90s Michael Jackson vibe in the verses (smooth guitar, plunky bass, basic synths, and vaguely tribal background vocals) and danceable pop electronics in the choruses. Vocals are good, pleasant, but not particularly notable. An interesting tune.
- “Hallucination” by dvsn — This is a song that is very much standing at the threshold, unsure of which way to go. Vocally (incredible airy falsetto) and lyrically, it’s very much an R&B tune. Musically it’s a different story — filled with programmed drum beats and atmospheric synths, it’s somewhere between dreamstep and a more harmonically-minded light-house kind of thing.
- “Golden Days” by Whitney — This. This is very unlike most of Noon Pacific’s fare. It’s oozing, from tip to toes, with classic rock vibes. A little bit of CCR’s swamp rock, a little bit of Fleetwood Mac’s country-influenced rock, a little bit of the Beatles’ bluesy, harmonics-and-chant-laden rock. A really interesting pick.
- “Hands On You” by Tony Pops — I kept getting lost in my own head while listening to this song. Groovy programmed drums, cyclical organ, bass that’s quiet but still felt in your bones, bright keyboard synth accents, a near-dubstep drop about half-way through, and cool half-whispered vocals. Just close your eyes and groove.
- “Sun Whisperer” by Flamingosis — Starting off with recorded rainforest noises? Not a fan, but it picks up quick when the song fades in, apparently mid-verse. Funky slap bass, smooth, soulful vocals, a bit of light organ, an electronic flourish here and there. It all works. Hell, even the rainforest sounds stick and around and make sense. This track belongs on an Outkast album.
- “Don’t Need You” by Christofi feat. J.VEN — This song is very much in the vein of ‘90s pop/dance tunes. It would be right at home on a workout album or an early edition of Now That’s What I Call Music. I’ll tell you what, though — it’s catchy.
- “LANDCRUISIN’” by A. K. Paul — Woah. Starting off with an overblown horn into and dirt bike sounds was… strange. But then the song started proper, and woah. My words are failing me. Those drums, those off-kilter hand claps, that chime. Guitar that’s heavily industrial, but also very melodic. Bursts of very ‘80s synth. This song is deep, textured, super odd-ball, and I love it.
- “Be Good” by Jhevere — Opening on piano and clean, clear vocals, I couldn’t help but think “This is a young John Legend.” There’s a bit of a Jeff Buckley-esque inflection in the vocals, which as a very big Jeff Buckley fan I feel pretty 50-50 on (it’s neat to hear, but another, less logical part of me feels almost like its stealing).
- “Home” by Down Time & Kevyn Smit — Bubbly synth and a heartbeat drumline open the track and are quickly joined by the vocals, wavery and sincere. Bigger, more expansive synth picks up in the chorus, plus a touch of simple piano, for a full, rich sound that isn’t overwhelming. The breakdown, pairing those big synth sounds with a very skillfully executed piano solo, is a truly unique combo. This song is like your favorite blanket, flooding you with warmth and comfort when you put it on.
- “No Measure” by Dutch — This is another song that’s got a real dichotomy of sound. In the verse its silky smooth electronic R&B, soulful vocals gliding over pensive, pulsing synth. The electronics kick up in the choruses though, elevating a dreamy to track to something deeply rousing. They’re off kilter in a way, subtly, that makes them almost unnerving or uncomfortable. But when it sinks back to that smooth verse, I find myself yearning for that unease.
Stand Outs: Like Noon Pacific // 182 a couple of weeks ago, there is a lot to like in this mixtape. Frenship’s “Carpet,” dvsn’s “Hallucination,” and Dutch’s “No Measure” all share interesting and unexpected musical split personalities. “LANDCRUISIN’” by A. K. Paul is so out of left field, with those heavy industrial sounds, that you can’t not enjoy it. Whitney’s “Golden Days” stands out for its exception rock sound. The Outkastian “Sun Whisperer” by Flamingosis was a great listen. So many of these songs are so good, I could carry on.
Let Downs: Unlike Noon Pacific // 182, I will be naming a single let down. “Don’t Need You” by Christofi feat. J.VEN, while definitely very catchy, just was not original. It might’ve fared better on a different tape, but surrounded by the limit-pushing tunes here on 184, it just can’t keep up.
Verdict: Noon Pacific // 184 is a real winner. It’s packed to the gills with new, unique, experimental, quirky, unexpected, very very pleasing sounds. Gem after gem after gem, with exceedingly few missteps.
Noon Pacific, a labor of love, is updated with a new 10-track mixtape every week. Sign up — it’s totally free, and you’ll get an email notification every Monday when the new tape goes live.