Noon Pacific

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 // 189

  • “Shouldn’t Have Done That” by Two Another — A slow fade in reveals a really quite well composed mellow electronic track with R&B inflected vocals. Super sparse jazzy guitar help to round things out, but all of the various synth flourishes do a pretty good job on their own.
  • “Past Lives” by Local Natives — Synth with a vague faux-horn section vibe and slightly nasally but not unpleasant vocals belie the indie rocker that this becomes. Shoegaze guitar and rambling, jangly drums create quite a dichotomy of sound, and the synth acting as a callback to the vocals was a really neat touch. The guitar solo about three quarters of the way cinches the whole thing.
  • “Elodie” by TEN FÉ — Rapid drums (are those 16th notes on the hi hat?) and a low key piano part are somewhat at odds with each other, but work.The vocals kick in, and they’re rich and almost-but-not-quite throaty. The sound builds steadily as an 8th-note bassline and a quick-fire pulsing synth kicks in and are joined, in the chorus, by more. Despite those quick drums, the overall vibe stays mellow — even in the final third, which has a decided ‘80s pop-influenced uplifting feeling.
  • “Not For Me” by Club Kuru — This tune sets the bar high right off the bat, kicking off with lush organ, big snare-forward drums, and a bassline with just enough funk. It’s a gorgeous, nostalgic opening. The vocals, smooth and silk despite a touch of filtering, take the song in a soul or R&B type direction. It’s good, but doesn’t quite deliver on the promise of that opening.
  • “Tropicana” by Topaz Jones — Despite its title, there’s nothing particularly tropical about this cut. Classic hip hop drums are augmented by a pleasant, if a touch repetitive, keyed synth phrase. The verses are rapped fast — not Busta Rymes fast, but fast — with an excellent cadence. They’re at once at odds with and a perfect compliment to the mellow, laid back track.
  • “Come Close” by Pegasus Warning — Despite being dominated by some fairly squelchy synth, this super downtempo track is super mellow. The vocals a strong but, frankly, nothing I couldn’t find in any other self respecting  R&B track. There are a few moments where it seems about to take an interesting twist but it fails to deliver each time.
  • “Small Talk” by Jarreau Vandal — Jazzy piano, bass, and a bit of turntable fuzz start this track off. Synth kick in quick, as do vocals that are somewhere in between spoken word and singing. It ultimately shifts into a heavily ’80s-esque dance track before dropping back to its jazzy start. Rather than “genre bending” or “innovative” or even “experimental,” this song comes of as confused.
  • “Separate” by Goldwash — It starts of muted, like it’s coming from the other room or a speaker under water. It fades into the vocals, which are pleasantly plain (“plain” as in without affectation, not un-unique) and clear. This song is bass heavy, with appregiating synth flourishes fluttering about, all delicately punctuated with snaps, claps, and understated light-hand drumming. A very pleasant tune.
  • “Lost Dreamers” by Mutual Benefit — Gentle acoustic guitar strumming and a Spanish classical-inflected string section start us off as a vibraphone delicately enters, and some shakers, and sparse, muted drums, and vocals. Really there isn’t anything that isn’t gentle in this track. Despite it all it’s got a rich, full sound and, despite myself, I’m completely lulled by it.
  • “Bridges” by Koresama — The plucked guitar and shaker-based percussion that start this tune off put me immediately in mind of some of Tupac Shakur’s softer, more pensive songs (“My Block,” anybody?). This track is kept instrumental — the guitar has some beautiful phrasing, both lead and rhythm, and the whole soundscape suits it all so perfectly.

Stand Outs: Local Native’s “Past Lives” was a real surprise, such a rockin’ song hiding behind such a calm intro — the whole thing, including the transition from vibe to vibe, was very well executed. Though I didn’t much love it’s chorus, the rest of “Tropicana” by Topaz Jones was great — hip hop blended with soul and funk, a la Outkast. Finally, “Bridges” by Koresama is such a beautiful song — it moved me to use the word “soundscape”! — and was a great choice to wrap up the mixtape.

Let Downs: “Small Talk” by Jarreau Vandal is comprised of a number of different pieces that, while all excellently composed as individual bits of music, simply don’t fit together. And that scattered sound, like an auditory personality disorder, landed it here.

Verdict: Noon Pacific // 189 was a very strong playlist. It has a stellar diversity of sound and a great variance in genre, the two things I love most about Noon Pacific. Very strong playlist, indeed.

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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