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 // 199

  • “South Seas” by Ménage À Trois — A pretty bog standard modern synthy R&B tune. Throbbing synth, a solid, if lightly mixed, bassline, smooth vocals. A bit of an ‘80s pop vibe in the choruses. It’s a well-executed song (though, at about 5 minutes, it’s self-indulgently long), but it’s a well-executed song that I’ve heard hundreds of times before. It just isn’t interesting.
  • “Lit Up” by Jean Tonique feat. Dirty Radio — Falsetto vocals, deeply funky bass, and space age synth get in your face immediately when this tune starts. Like the previous song, I’ve heard a lot of these elements before; unlike the previous, they’re used in new, exciting ways. This is an infectiously enjoyable and danceable track.
  • “Sun Soaked” by Jordan Dean Riddle — For whatever reason, this song wouldn’t play on Noon Pacific, so I found it on the official Noon Pacific YouTube channel, instead. And I’m glad I did, this is a neat song. A little indie rock, a little jazz. The vocals are deep, emotive, a little strained, singing with a unique string-the-words-along cadence. Guitar tone is lovely and bright.
  • “Dirty Whispers” by AM!R — Metallic bass straight out of the ‘80s, and no-nonsense programmed drums open, joined by slightly reverbed vocals. Synths feature big into the choruses, punctuated by a quick but gorgeous guitar riff. It’s the bass and drums that really keep this song moving though.
  • “blue” by simon eng — Deeply reverbed guitar, absolutely gorgeous, sultry vocals, and experimentally off kilter piano tinkering dominate this song. It’s fuzzy and drowsy, like a warm wood-paneled bar on a dark, cold winter night. A stunning song that, at less than two minutes, is entirely too short.
  • “Bad 4 U” by Imad Royal — So, this tune. Musically, it’s really beautiful. What that primary instrument is, I have no idea — does anybody know? Comment if you do! — but it’s gorgeous. It has an old-timey vibe that I love. It takes a 180 in the chorus, morphing into a synthy, programmed-drum-driven, guitar strumming, horn section-having dance tune. Each half of the song, unexpectedly, work perfectly together. But the lyrics. The lyrics, to my ear, are deeply misogynist, painting women as nothing but a man’s playthings. And it ruins the whole thing. Grow up, dude. Anybody got an instrumental version?
  • “Thinkin Bout You (Frank Ocean Cover)” by Midnight Pool Party — A synthy dance pop cover of Frank Ocean’s synthy dance pop tune. That was snarky, but the truth is I rather like it. It bumps up the tempo notably, adds a plunky bassline. A head-bobber, for sure. Also, this.
  • “All of My Loving” by Caius — The groove of this song really has be bobbing along — it’s steady, smooth, the perfect tempo. That synth, though, playing the same 7 to 10 note phrase over and over and over again. It becomes grating before the tune is even a minute old.
  • “Fountain Of Youth” by Local Natives — This track opens on a beautiful, haunting harmonized backing vocal, joined by a slow four-to-the-floor bass and lead vocals. Over time it becomes a full-bodied, rousing indie rock ballad with folky undertones. The drummer hits an obscene number of hi-hat notes in the chorus as the sound grows and grows. It’s got a bit more of an inspirational feel than I generally go for, but it works here. Is this song on the radio? I think the radio would love it.
  • “Better Man (Feat. Peter Gregson & Iskra String Quartet)” by FYFE — A gorgeous string ensemble merges to synthesized faux synth as a programed drum beat kicks in. Delicate yet full vocals, vibey marimba-like synth. Other synth sounds take control, and the result is a sprawling, atmospheric, surprisingly moving track.

Stand Outs: More than half the playlist are standout tracks. Jean Tonique feat. Dirty Radio, Jordan Dean Riddle, AM!R, simon eng, Local Natives, and FYFE all provided standout tracks.

Let Downs: While not every track was a stand out, that doesn’t mean the rest of them were let downs. Really the only true let down was Caius’ “All of My Loving,” that hyper-repetitive synth phrase making it close to unlistenable. Imad Royal, despite stunning glorious music, lands here thanks to his piggish lyrics, which I just couldn’t get past.

Verdict: Noon Pacific // 199 was a very solid mixtape. I didn’t floor me with track after glorious track, but 65% of the tunes were really excellent and that’s not a number I’m going to grumble about. Well done.

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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