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 // 195

  • “Burnin’” by Steve Void & Alex Adair — This brings me right back to my Jock Jams days. Take from that what you will, but that’s all I’m gonna say about this.
  • “For You” by Ghost Hours — This is a real smooth synthpop kind of tune. Mellow, atmospheric. Layered ebbing and flowing synth, steady drums, and a no-nonsense bassline dominate the track. Vocals are smooth, on the higher side, and compliment the music perfectly.
  • Believe In Me” by Flamingosis — A quick fade in on the vocals — a back and forth between lead and backing — sets the tone for this tune. The bass is super funky, the guitar a little jazzy, the strings and horns are pleasant touches. A much different tune from Flamingosis’ previous Noon Pacific offering, it’s also quite similar. It’s a beautiful R&B and funk revivalist song.
  • “Flower On The Moon” by Newtimers — This track is dominated by smooth ‘80s style synths and bass. It’s all very Michael Jackson. In fact, the vocals often resemble Michael Jackson themselves. Now that I hear it, actually, that’s all I can hear. Suddenly I feel like this song set out specifically to be a Michael Jackson tune.
  • “Say It Again” by KINGDM — This starts with a beautiful percussive melody; I’m thinking it’s a marimba. It’s overtaken ultimately by piano, some synth, and a standard but booming drumline. The marimba makes a glorious return in the choruses, and the drums increase in complexity to a beautifully layered level. Aside from a relatively redundant chorus lyric, they’re the standouts of the song — the verses are, for the most part, pretty standard fare.
  • “How I Feel” by Moods. feat. Sam Wills — Affected bass, R&B drums, falsetto vocals, and some synth flourishes. It’s all executed well, but it’s all been done before.
  • “Alive” by KHAI — Key synth, drums, and soft, almost ethereal vocals. That’s about all that’s going on in this tune, but it works. It’s almost like an unplugged performance of a more heavily produced synthpop tune. Really well put together, it falls into a killer laid back groove that you can’t help but feel.
  • “Nature” by Michael Bird — They took what would’ve been a perfectly good laid back electronica tune — derivative but workable — and tacked an incredibly repetitive, horribly grating chorus onto it.
  • “Where I’m Going” by Jerry Folk — I really dig this tune. Key synths of various levels of effects are layered on top of a funk-inflected drumline. This song comes from the weird place where modern laid back electronica, funk, jazz, and 8-bit all meet. It’s wacky, but it works so well.
  • “I Can’t Hear God Anymore” by NGAIIRE — Opening with some Roman Catholic church-style organs, I’m mostly confused off the bat (though the title fits). Programmed drums and muted female vocals kick in, and some synth to boot. The vocals have a unique cadence that I really love, both at one and at odds with the music. The song as a whole, though, loses steam about half way through.

Stand Outs: Flamingosis is back with their second offering since I began reviewing Noon Pacific and, for the second time, they’ve ended up in my Stand Outs, this time with the gorgeous, well executed revivalist “Believe in Me.” The stripped down sound of KHAI’s “Alive” made for a great change of pace. And in “Where I’m Going,” Jerry Folk really plays around with sound and what it can become.

Let Downs: Steve Void and Alex Adair proved that they’re stuck in the early ‘90s, in a bad way, with “Burnin’,” the strong choruses in KINGDM’s “Say It Again” couldn’t save it from its lackluster verses, and if I hear the phrase “There’s just something about your nature” again I’m going to scream, courtesy of Michael Bird’s “Nature.”

Verdict: Noon Pacific // 195 is pretty lackluster, when compared to Noon Pacific // 194 (which I’m basically in love with). There were a few solid tunes, but for the most part this list had a bunch of tired sounds like I’ve been listening to for decades.

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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