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 // 191
- “American C.R.E.A.M.” by Mons Vi — Jazzy guitar, down-tempo alt rock vocals, and a drumline reminiscent of of old school hip hop. The mix of genres and styles found here is diverse yet, as a whole, it works seamlessly. Even the fuzzy noise rock breakdown in the middle feels completely at home here.
- “I’m Honestly Not A Gangster” by Jerry Folk — Drums with a dash of jazz in ‘em (plus some heavy filtering in the breakdown) are the stars of this tune. Quick, snappy, hip, grooving. The vocals, a middle ground between rapping and singing, is strong — they hit a surprising amount of notes in a closely defined range. The refrain “It ain’t gangsta” does get a little repetitive toward the end, though.
- “Gold Chains” by Goldensuns — This song takes a long time to go anywhere. It’s dominated by easy, atmospheric synths and groovy guitar, in the verses at least — for the choruses, the tempo drops way down and the guitars fade out. There’s something about these quieter parts that suggests they’re not happy being quiet parts, that they’re leading to something bigger. And they do, ultimately, in the climactic, guitar heavy outro, but they take a long time getting there. Ultimately there’s a sizable disconnect between each of this song’s two personalities.
- “Losing Control” by o_o — This tune is really pleasant. Acoustic guitar strumming, a mix of programmed drums and some some almost-harsh bongo-esque snare (which I suspect is also digital in nature), and both throbbing and atmospheric synth. The female vocals are a little heavy on the vibrato but otherwise have a gorgeous, woody pop folk sort of quality to them.
- “Stronger” by FYFE — The vocals, which are pleasant in tone and well controlled, are clearly meant to be the focus of this track — they’re mixed very prominently. The music is the real standout, though. The mellow chirping guitar riffs, shakers, smooth percussion, plunky bouncing bass, and eerie backing vocals create a beautifully lush, textured track.
- “Thursday” by Lostboycrow — This track is the first on the list to give off a distinct R&B vibe. Its most defined in the vocals, with their almost restrained feeling. The drums reinforce it, with their snap-heavy vibe and hi hat emphasis. The pulsing synth are the odd man out, at least in terms of traditional instrumentation, but they work.
- “She’s In Love With The Weekend” by Jodie Abacus — This is a unique tune. Vocally it’s another R&B tune, but one of the most prominent sounds at the start is a vworp-kind of synth sound more often found in more experimental tracks. Keys kick in in the first chorus, and strings in the second verse. Overall it’s got a funky sort of vibe.
- “Naturally” by Machet — This one opens up with the distinctive drums of a good reggae song, and that’s exactly what it turns out to be (a Noon Pacific first! Since I’ve been reviewing it, at any rate.). The horns that join the drums are classic and laid back, as are the reedy vocals, keys, and synth. Just such a solid, grooving track. Real put-your-toes-in-the-sand-lay-back-and-relax music.
- “It’s The Being In Love” by Late Nite Tuff Guy — This is quite a genre shift from the previous, opening hard on some house-style percussion. Sparse slapped bass notes and glitchy vocals fade in over it. Guitar even sparser than the bass (and with a sound that almost sounds like a cat vocalizing) joins eventually. It goes on like this — steadily grooving along — unchanged for quite a while before a fade out.
- “Slave” by Dadeull — This song plays almost like an electronically-minded version of Soulive. Groovy drums, funky bass, chiming keys, squealing organ synth, and a number of other synths to boot. It’s got a real jam quality — the vocals, which are completely talkbox affected, are limited to the first half of the tune. At times it’s funky, at times it’s soulful, at times it’s almost 8 bit. But it’s never boring.
Stand Outs: The standout tracks for me this week were Mons Vi’s “American C.R.E.A.M.” with its classic old school jazz vibe, and Machet’s “Naturally,” a perfectly executed example of pure reggae (none of that white boy Sublime bullshit).
Let Downs: I’m going to go ahead and say that there were no let downs for me this week, only the second time since I started reviewing the Noon Pacific playlist. There were obviously tracks I liked more than others, but no tracks that I didn’t like at all.
Verdict: Noon Pacific // 191 was a solid mixtape. A good mix of genres (though there was a slightly larger volume of jazz-influenced numbers), solid musicianship all around.
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.