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 // 194
- “Palms” by Rationale — Really pleasant bouncy vibraphone-esque synth opens this track. It’s joined by a somewhat muted picked guitar phrase and some really nice vocals — deep, throaty, full, and rich. A killer groovy bassline kicks in at the first chorus and the song continues on that strong note — big, textured, sexy, groovy, jammin’.
- “Close to You” by Glasses — This is an interesting tune. Vocals — softer and reedier than the previous — dominate. A downtempo affair, squelchy reverbed synth, cymbal-heavy programmed drums, and a slow but groovy baseline round it out. There’s a lot of elements yet the overall sound is on the thinner side — it works, though, keeps things light.
- “Changed The Locks” by High Water — While lyrically it’s not that impressive, the vocal delivery is very interesting, soft with a strained quality, and heavily affected. A basic reggae-style guitar accompanies the vocals, also deeply affected — reverby and under water-y. A simple two-note bassline — 100% perfect in this setting — ties it all together. As a curveball, it changes gears to a real low-key breakdown dominated by gorgeous glitchy synths about halfway through before building back up to an emotive climactic ending.
- “Pentacle 13” by Kwesi Foraes — Strummed acoustic guitar starts us off, and then a small string section jumps in for a measure. Then vocals — Southern-sounding, a little raspy but very pleasant. Then drums — kick only. This tune builds up at a perfectly measured pace, element by element. By halfway through we’re thick in the middle of a gorgeously orchestrated, beautifully layered folk-influenced indie rock tune.
- “We Need Love” by Tola feat. vbnd — This tune is a complete 180 from what came before. It opens straight on synth organ followed quickly by a drumline far too heavy on the hi-hat. Synth faux horns make an awful appearance. The vocals are gorgeous, though — silky smooth R&B-flavored lusciousness. About three quarters of the way in jazzy acoustic guitar is incorporated for the rest of the tune — completely unexpected, it feels very out of place. The whole thing has an almost 8-bit sound to it. This song is confused. And confusing.
- “Lazy Lover” by Lonely Benson — Jazzy electric guitar, a steady, measured drumline, and grooving backing synths really define this tune. Vocals are very nice — on the higher side, full without taking over the song. The bassline sneaks up on you — groovy and a little funky, you’ll find yourself jamming to it without even realizing that it had started. This is just a really nice tune — light, full, and pleasant, it’s the kind of song you put on for a nice summer drive.
- “Moodna, Once With Grace” by Gus Dapperton — More jazzy electric guitar (ain’t complainin’), this time with a bit of reverb. Full band instrumentation — slow, sedate bass, sparse drums, some synth flourishes — kicks in at 15 seconds and the song takes on a noted blues tone. Then, at 45 seconds, an additional synth kicks in prominently and the song takes on another whole new vibe.
- “Man Out Of Myself” by Imperial Daze — This is a really interesting tune. I don’t know where to start talking about it. It’s got a very indie rock sound, plus a bit of a dreampop/synthpop vibe courtesy a number of synths. It’s a strong, driving tune but never overbearing. Vocals are strong, if not particularly exceptional — they’re reminiscent of Coldplay’s Chris Martin in the lower notes, Spoon’s Britt Daniel a lot of the rest of the time. Growling bass, slightly quirky drums, gorgeous clear guitar and scorching, affected solos. It has a bit of everything and its great.
- “It Breaks” by Arthur Wimble — The vocals here are heavily manipulated by both effects and in-production editing, by the sounds of it — no autotune though, so that’s good. Synths like bells chime throughout the background, the foreground often dominated by a beeping cheep. Solid, if not extraordinary, programmed drums. It’s a lot of disparate sounds that shouldn’t work when they’re put together, but they do. Really well.
- “One Day” by Hot Sand — This is an ‘80s style throwback disco sort of track, with more modern synth elements incorporated into it. Instrumental, it’s actually really nice and easy to groove to.
Stand Outs: In a playlist of 10 tracks, I marked 6 of them as standouts while going through. “Palms,” “Changed the Locks,” “Pentacle 13,” “Moodna, Once With Grace,” “Man Out Of Myself,” and “It Breaks” are all exceptional songs, all for different reasons.
Let Downs: The only track I was let down by was “We Need Love” by Tola feat. vbnd. The vocals were gorgeous but the music itself was distractingly confused and jumbled, had no idea what it was or what it wanted to be.
Verdict: Noon Pacific // 194 was a stupendous mixtape — a strong genre mix with a surprisingly large number of stand outs. I’ll be running through this list over and over again in the coming days.
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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