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 // 198
- “Beast of Burden” by argonaut&wasp — Opening with very sustained organ, synth and some highly affected vocals are soon introduced to the track. But an introduction is all it is, it seems, as the song seamlessly transitions to much more of an indie rock, synth rock type of tune. Bright, even a little tropical, and very danceable.
- “Cool 2” by Hoops — Another very indie rock tune, this short one (it clocks in at under two minutes) is dominated by almost-but-not-quite-Santana-esque guitar. Drums are pretty cymbal heavy, and the bass is nice but mixed very low. It’s a nice tune, but not especially notable.
- “I Want To Know?????” by Goss — Ostensibly an R&B tune, its subtle, also including electronic, synthpop, and rock elements. The vocals, borderline falsetto male ones, are pleasing, the primary breakdown synth part mimics strings played in a traditional Chinese fashion. And that percussion! What are those, woodblocks? They sound like galloping horses — it’s ridiculous, but it also sounds great and is oh so confusingly right.
- “One Day” by SiDizen King — Electropop meets hip hop. I wasn’t instilled with confidence by the first 22 seconds or so — derivative electropop stuff. But at the sound of a drop (incongruous), the tune does a complete 180 into an absolutely unexpected hip hop verse. Rapid fire rhymes, a marimba-like sound, and big, throbbing synths. The choruses see the return of that electropop sound, but I think the verses are strong enough to make up for them.
- “Touché” by T O U C H É — Vibratory, affected (possibly programmed, it’s unclear) drums open this one up. I was really into it but, at 10 seconds in, they drop out to be replaced by four measures of a jazzy keyboard number. Thankfully they return, but only for another four measures. What a rollercoaster this song is — just give me those drums back! Between that jazzy keyboard piece, played skillfully but not wholly original, horribly over-autotuned vocals, and buzzy keyed synth, the drums are far and away the most interesting element of this song.
- “Sinner of the Week” by Daniel Wilson — A little bit disco, a little bit ‘80s pop (very Michael Jackson at times), a little bit R&B, a little bit electropop. There’s programmed drums, steady bass, woody percussive additions, periodic guitar in the background, synths of all sorts. There’s a lot going on, but the elements are all blended quite well.
- “Sunshine” by MÖWE — This is an interesting song. It starts off as a four-to-the-floor EDM-type dance song. While the four-to-the-floor remains, the electronic element drops out suddenly at about the 34 second mark and is replaced by an acoustic, folk rock-type guitar part. Echoing lead and backing vocals, and a synth-meets-toy keyboard solo. And that four-to-the-floor kick drum, always the four-to-the-floor kick drum. This song is a little bit all over the place, but it works.
- “Tear You Down” by LA MAR — I was sitting here listening to the long, slow, mostly vocal intro wondering what I would write about this song when all of a sudden the vocals took on a distinct Chris Martin from Coldplay sound. Like, uncanny. And then something stranger happened: it switched from a somber piano-and-vocal ballad to a dark, sinister, frenetic experimental electronic kind of thing. Chris Martin Junior and the piano returns, but they’re tied to the electronic heart of the song via the pulsing bass. I could do with less Coldplay mimicry and more of those awesomely dark electronics, but overall a really interesting, unexpected tune.
- “Missing You” by Wingtip — This is a really neat tune. Laser electronics, affected vocals, funky guitar and bass. The choruses are a little tamer, serving more as long buildups for the verses than choruses in and of themselves. They kill the momentum of the song, a little bit, and are a little bit frustrating in that way.
- “Slow Down” by Du Tonc — Buzzing synths, tom work, shakers, and jungle noise introduce this tune — at a minute long, though, it’s a bit drawn out. Funky bass, straight-out-of-the-‘80s synth, and highly affected vocals join in. It’s a very nostalgic song — does the ‘80s have a revivalist movement yet? No? Well, it might’ve just started.
Stand Outs: Goss’ “I Want To Know?????” is a really strongly put together song, excessive use of question mark notwithstanding, with some unexpected and interesting elements. The hip hop verses of SiDizen King’s “One Day” are killer. And despite its Coldplay/Chris Martin mimicry in the choruses, LA MAR’s “Tear You Down” features incredible, dark, sinister, heavily electronic verses.
Let Downs: “Touché” by T O U C H É — if you have to autotune every single word you sing, you’re doing something wrong. It doesn’t sound nice. Please stop.
Verdict: Noon Pacific // 198 was… interesting. It has all the things I like — mix of genres, new or unexpected elements. But it had a serious misstep of a song (coughautotunecough) and a lot of stuff that flew under the radar, making no particular impression one way or the other. Even two of the stand outs are only stand outs for about half of their lengths, the other halves being rather lackluster. So I guess I’m… undecided.
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.