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 // 188
“LIWY” by Saux — Marimba-sounding synth that are at once bouncy and mournful start this track off. The mournful vibe persists, particularly in the breathy vocals, rich but with a… strained quality. A guitar part pops in and out, a couple quick notes here, a couple quick notes there. A pleasant but, I’m afraid, ultimately unmemorable tune.
“Solo” by Yeo feat. Sessility — Woah, steel drums! They’re the first note in the song, and that’s where I’m hooked. They drop out quickly, making room for the verse and vocals, which sound like they’re working overtime to keep pace with a tempo just a bit faster than they’d like, before bouncing back big in the chorus. It’s tropical, it’s electronic, it’s groovy, it’s fun.
“White Cliffs” by Les Loups feat. Jesse Will — An unidentifiable vibratory sound (synth or heavily reverbed guitar, who knows) works as a spine around which the meat of this song slowly fades in. Quirky drums that seem to stutter just the tiniest bit, piano, plucky jazzy guitar riffs, silky groovy bass. This is a rich, deeply textured track that shows a lot of varied influence. Those drums really steal the show, though.
“Drowsy” by Horse Thief — This is a really interesting pick for Noon Pacific, the odd non-electronic heavy pick that comes along every now and again. There’s a flourish here and there, but by and large this is a folk-influenced indie rock tune. The vocals are on the higher side and have a bit of a nasally tone, in ways that really suite the song, and the guitar tone is somewhere between country and surf rock.
“Know Your Minute” by Woods — And another! Here we have a folk-influenced neo-psychedelia sort of thing, a track very reminiscent of mid-era Beatles or even The Doors — basically any band that helped shape rock music as we know it during that pivotal 10 years or so. Rolling bassline, standard rock drums, bluesy and vaguely surf rock guitar — it’s deeply nostalgic, but also refreshingly new.
“Wedding Daze” by Daniel Wilson — This track is super interesting. Synth, bass, and drums all hitting the same staccato notes. It’s really like nothing I’ve heard before and I find it very alluring. Vocals are equally unique — the high notes are all hit but they bring the vocalist to the verge of screaming, and the low notes are beautifully rich and sultry. A gospel or soul vibe persists throughout and the last minute crescendo was a beautiful way to go out.
“World Of Our Love” by Client Liaison — Hello, ’80s. Because if that opening synth doesn’t scream “’80s pop,” I don’t know what does. The theme continues throughout the tune, from the electric drums, the rest of the synth effects, the main vocals, and the echoing background vocals. I can’t tell if it’s an homage or pastiche, or if it crosses the line into imitation territory. But I’ll be damned if it’s not extremely well executed and catchy as anything.
“Close” by Fabian Luttenberger feat. Novaa — A dreamy sort of pop-minded electronica (I’m sure somebody could name the precise sub-genre for me), this song kind of just fades into the background of your subconscious. Even the chorus, which picks up and takes on an almost house-like vibe, chills pretty low-key in your mind.
“Fjernsynet” by Gundelach — Albeit different in its core sounds, this tune is much the same as the previous, dominated by atmospheric, ambient synth. It differentiates itself in what sounds an awful lot like a guitar solo about three quarters of the way through, the presence of a consistent and driving four-to-the-floor-based drum track, more prominent vocals, an overall bigger sound, and a steady buildup.
“Escape” by Saavan — I guess we’re wrapping this week up with a trifecta of songs that lean toward the ambient. While the previous two were pretty solidly within that realm, this one is pushing those boundaries a little bit — while still ambient in spirit, I think, it takes some liberties. With some sparse traditional-inspired drumming (it’s got a bit of a taiko flare to it) throughout and some clacking, almost industrial percussion in the chorus. As a whole this one is bigger, more textured, more layered, and more ambitious than the other two.
Stand Outs: The fresh tropical sound of “Solo” by Yeo feat. Sessility, the incredible texturing and off-kilter drums of “White Cliffs” by Les Loups feat. Jesse Will, the forward-facing nostalgia psychedelia of Wood’s “Know Your Minute,” and the whole unexpected adventure of Daniel Wilson’s “Wedding Daze” land these four the top spots this week.
Let Downs: This week I’m putting Saux’s “LIWY” and Client Liaison’s “World Of Our Love” in the bottom. Which I feel bad about, as neither song is bad necessarily. “LIWY” is perfectly nice to listen to but it squirts right out of your brain without leaving any impression the second it’s over, and “World Of Our Love” is downright good but it’s also downright derivative.
Verdict: Noon Pacific // 188 was a real wild ride and it brought us to a whole slew of places. Many of those places were new and exciting and different and engaging. A couple of them were places we’d been numerous times before and, frankly, could’ve done without another visit for the time being. Overall a strong showing.
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.
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