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 // 204
- “Some Places” by Grapell — Atmospheric synth pop meets… muzak? The very ‘80s sounding sax is what gives that impression, and it’s a strong impression — luckily the sax appearances are kept to a minimum. Otherwise this is a pretty chill tune, with a slow steady groove and easy male-female vocals.
- “Higher (feat. Wild & Free)” by Falcon Punch — This is an interesting tune. It’s got a slight ‘80s vibe, thanks in part to the faux-organ keyboard part (which, to be honest, gets increasingly redundant as the song progresses). The vocals have a strained falsetto R&B kind of sound. The guitar and bass bring a little funk to the party. All of these elements play nicely enough together, but the results aren’t particularly notable.
- “Summertime” by Kuro Wøøds — This track opens up with deep, dusty acoustic bass which is like, how often is an acoustic bass used? Very nice touch. Vocals kick in, a touchy reverby — this fades as the song progresses, becoming crisper and cleaner. Bongo-like percussion and a plucky surf rock-inspired guitar round the song out. Really quite pleasant.
- “All Night Long” by Besnine — While other tracks on this playlist so far have flirted with the ‘80s sound, this one is straight-up courting it. From the synth to the programmed drums, from the vocals to the plucky guitar phrase, this song is oozing ‘80s. So if that’s your bag, this is your tune.
- “Home” by Jack Karowak — Speaking of flirting, Noon Pacific sometimes flirts with hip hop. It goes all the way with this track, a chilled out, bare bones tune. Big, rich bass, sparse drums, and jazzy guitar (a la Tupac’s chiller tunes) live comfortably underneath rapped verses of increasing speed and intensity. Really the only downside of this track is the audible autotune in the choruses.
- “Feel Like This” by Huon Kind — Piano, chirpy strummed guitar, super funky muddy bass. This is a really neat tune, sort of bridging the gap between earlier Motown-era R&B-type rock and today’s indie rock. Even that’s an oversimplification, though — this is clearly a well-thought out tune that carefully borrows from decades worth of inspiration.
- “Tell Me The Same” by Michl — Sustained piano and sad vocals start this one off, joined by a very self-restrained handful of notes from an electric guitar (which have an almost prog-rock type of sound). Then the beat drops almost dubstep style and an electronic element kicks in. This is a song that doesn’t really know what it is — but frankly, here, that is exactly as it should be.
- “Do U Wanna Get Down” by Late Nite Tuff Guy — This song basically is Donna Summer’s “Bad Girls.”
- “Dreams” by Down Time — Cinematic piano and chimes straight out of a film soundtrack morph into a heavily electronic chilled out tune. The main synth is interesting, something between a squelch and a squeal. It’s tempered by the deep bass and piano. It goes on, alternating between Snow White-frolicking-with-the-woodland-creatures soundtrack sound and experimental electronic. It’s really quite interesting.
- “Alright” by Keep Dancing Inc — I’m really at something of a loss of what to say about this song. Like other’s on this week’s mixtape, it’s got undeniable ‘80s sounds — the keys, synth, and especially the vocals all carry echoes of the decade. At the same time, there are aspects that are very much modern — the cyclical guitar solo toward the end, the sound and pattern of the base, and, conflictingly, the vocals. When I set the confusion aside and just listen, though, I find myself quite pleased.
Stand Outs: Kuro Wøøds and the almost-rustic indie rock vibes of “Summertime,” Jack Karowak and his simultaneously chilled out but intense hip hop, the back-and-forth nature of Down Time’s “Dreams,” and ‘80s sound made modern (as opposed to nostalgic) of Keep Dancing Inc’s “Alright” make them this week’s standouts.
Let Downs: Late Nite Tuff Guy’s “Do U Wanna Get Down” samples heavily — too heavily — from Donna Summer’s “Bad Girls,” and doesn’t do nearly enough to make it stand on two feet as its own entity.
Verdict: Noon Pacific // 204 was a decent mixtape. Only one bummer, which is good, but most of the tracks were middle-of-the-road songs that I could take or leave without much feeling either way.
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.