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 // 200

  • “Fever” by Roosevelt — Bright chirping keys are often a good sign. Here they make way to a more “traditional” synth sound, if there is such a thing, redolent of Passion Pit and the radio friendly synth pop that they brought to the world. In fact, aside from the vocals, which are distinctly (if not overtly) gruffer than those of Michael Angelakos, this is very like Passion Pit.
  • “Live in This Moment” by Kakou — Effected vocals (is that autotune I hear?) and sparse surging synth notes. It’s smooth and sultry. But… it never really goes anywhere. It picks up the tiniest bit during the chorus, but that same simple synth phrase persists unchanged throughout the entire song and it all becomes very one (four) note.
  • “Good Together” by HONNE — This song opens with a bumpin’ drumline, vocals, finger snaps, and nothing else. A synth starts to peek in just before the chorus, where it explodes into a gorgeous neo-soul sort of thing. Verse returns, this time with slinky funk bass and rapid fire hi-hat notes that really carry the energy from that first chorus. The breakdown is a little… sappy, but otherwise this is a snappy, unexpected, very fun tune.
  • “Fade Out ft. Gavin Turek” by VICEROY — Funky wah-wah guitar and dirty, growling synth go really well together — who would’ve thought. This number has that funk touch, and its wrapped up in a synth-pop shell. You might put the two genres at odds with each other, but here they really work well when combined.
  • “I Am Only A Man” by Shy Girls — Organ-y synth, with very much a Roman Catholic Church kind of vibe, is the predominate sound opening this track up. And, as it turns out, for the remainder of the song, as well. Some sparse, vocal-punctuating drums come in, note-for-note with more synth, and then fade out again, which was frankly a relief because it made me feel a little edgy. This song just kind of stews in its own juices, but it wasn’t seasoned properly so the result is pretty bland.
  • “We Are Your Receiver” by Klongstof — Dramatic, very sustained string orchestra notes (almost definitely synthesized) open this song. Though they’re joined by some lightly strummed guitar and soft, far-away vocals, they’re essentially the only sound for roughly the first 68 seconds of the tune. Guitar bumps up in presence and some almost-off-kilter drums kick in for the chorus, followed by a brief buzzing synth addition. Honestly, this song makes me think very much of Coldplay — essentially an acoustic rock outfit trying very hard, perhaps too hard, to get hip with the young kids and their electronic buzzy sounds. The lyrics (are we sure that’s not Chris Martin?) don’t help this impression. It’s builds to a dramatic and emotive, but also very familiar and overdone, radio-ready climax.
  • “All This Time” by Caye — Jazzy guitar, falsetto vocals (which deepen up to a rich, silky tone later), conga-like percussion layered with programmed drums, upbeat bass playing note-for-note with the guitar (at times, and at others digressing), steel drums. It’s almost got a Jack Johnson vibe, but if Jack Johnson dabbled in electronics and wasn’t so cheesy and sappy all the time. Goddamn, this song is pleasant.
  • “Get Mine” by Midas Hutch feat. Shakka — Opening with a few notes that sound like a toy piano, I was pretty excited about this tune (which is super hipster of me, I know). But it surprise morphs, at the drop of a hat, to a club-worthy dance tune. It’s got an ‘80s vibe to the synth (the progression of the notes as much as the tone itself) and occasional faux horns, particularly in the choruses. In the verses, it’s a bit more modern R&B with the slightest Caribbean slant. It’s not dripping originality, but it had my head bobbin’.
  • “Unify” by Sam Wills — This tune is something like experimental jazz meeting a John Legend-esque strain of R&B (dominated by traditional piano instrumentation). There’s piano, but its edgy, staccato, not the focus. Though roughly standard song length, there’s movements here, themes almost — the song morphs, changes, adapts as it goes, and it’s really quite interesting.
  • “Control Myself” by LEISURE — In contrast to the previous tune, this one is what it is and owns it. It finds its groove quick, settles into it, and maintains it for its length. It’s a rich song — the bass, big and prominently mixed, is smooth with just enough funkiness thrown in to keep things interesting; the vocals are falsetto but smooth as opposed to grating or contrived; the drums are steady, smooth, even unflappable; you hardly notice the beautiful clean guitar, but it’s an essential element without which this song would be incomplete. This tune is an absolute homerun.

Stand Outs: HONNE’s “Good Together” is a gorgeous electro-neo-soul sort of thing, Viceroy and Gavin Turek took two disparate genres and made them a cohesive one in “Fade Out,” “All This Time” by Caye is untiringly enjoyable to listen to, and LEISURE’s “Control Myself” is pretty much a perfect song.

Let Downs: “Live in This Moment” by Kakou and “I Am Only A Man” by Shy Girls are the letdowns this week — they both had promise but were hampered by overly repetitious phrases and an apparent inability to lead anywhere.

Verdict: Noon Pacific // 200 was excellent. I feel like a number of stops were pulled out for this landmark edition of the mixtape — It was groovy, funky, sweet, happy, joyful, sad, sexy, danceable, and everything in between.

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.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.