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 // 206
- “Solid Gold” by WILLS — Bumping bass line underscores this track, which is an electro-meets-gospel kind of deal. In a really neat way. It’s got dark undertones despite bright, chirping synth. Introduced by a four-note drum roll, the chorus is heavy, almost post-drop dubstep heavy.
- “Coins” by Local Natives — Like the their tracks that came before, this offering revels in its fusion of radio-ready indie rock and synthpop, with other little dashes of this and that thrown in. Here we start off in indie territory, dominated by jangling electric guitar and soulful vocals. The choruses are very synthpop, with heavily affected bass and flourishy synths. Starting after the second chorus there’s a distinct Latin vibe, though I can’t quite put my finger on what’s generating it.
- “Zermatt” by Kamaliza — Aside from the raw metallic sound of the bass, there’s little here to distinguish this song from any number of other electro-R&B tune. Breathy falsetto vocals, layered synths, standard EDM-type programmed drums.
- “TUCSON” by Healy — This track, unlike the one previous, has a generalized lightness. The synths are airier, the bass is warmer, the vocals are fuller. It’s also got a chiller tempo and the vocals occasionally drop into a near-hip hop delivery. Like the previous, this track sounds a lot like a whole bunch of other electro-R&B tunes.
- “RARE PANTHER + BEACH HOUSE” by DUCKWRTH — Now this is a tune. It’s got a lot of the same elements as the two previous tracks, but here they’re put together in a new, original way. The drums, more reliant on cymbals than actual drums, are stuttery and smooth all at once. Deep, bubbly synth follow the drums, while others hit once and echo away like a drop down a well. They rapped vocals are laid perfectly in this non-beat beat, and the harmonic chorus chants are worthy of Outkast.
- “Starlite” by Le Couler — Keys thick with reverb and a buzzing synth start this track up, which takes on a whole new feel when the funky drums and bass kick in. The vocals are smooth, but airy and haunting in a way. There’s a very ‘80s sax break, and a verse later a very ‘80s synth break. All told this is a solid song — I’d happily dance to it at a club or party (hell, I’m dancing to it now sitting at my desk) — but I don’t think it’ll stay with me over the long run.
- “Stop For Nothing” by Courtship — Super funky bass and a steady programmed drumbeat kick us off on this track. Guitar jumps in for a bit at the tail end of the verse, and that’s just as funky, rapidly strummed with plenty of muted strokes. The vocals and choral breakdown are straight synthpop. The two sounds do go well together, though.
- “Down” by Buster Moe — This song is kind of strange. It starts off with big keys and mass handclaps, a very this-song-is-meant-for-radio-play sound. The vocals — deep and rich and dripping with soul — come in and shift the dynamic to something much sexier than radio bait. But then the chorus comes in and we’re right back to indie-pop radio stuff — a generalized uplifting sound, shout-sung vocals, and so on. The two sounds fit together decently enough, but after the verses the choruses are a major letdown.
- “Much Too Much” by Allan Rayman — A moody track, this one is dominated by throaty vocals that alter between a start-and-stop delivery with a much smoother one, clear key synth, basic but present bass, and a downtempo but insistent drumline. The chorus comes and brings with it a complete (and literal) tempo change — all the instrumentation drops out, only to rebuild in a completely different manner. The drums are scattered, almost confused. The keys are scattered as well, jumping sporadically across the scale instead of the clear phrasing that came before. Even the vocals shift, taking on a growling quality. Then, rinse and repeat.
- “Saturday Love (David Morales Rework)” by Cherelle feat. Alexander O’Neal — There’s really not a lot to say about this song. It’s thoroughly an R&B-type pop song from the early ‘90s.
Stand Outs: WILLS blended gospel/soul with dark electropop and gave the whole thing a serious edge in “Solid Gold.” In “Coins,” Local Natives achieved a completely different, yet equally effective, blending of gospel/soul, indie rock, electro, and vaguely Latin sounds. DUCKWRTH plays with tempo, beat, and structure in “RARE PANTHER + BEACH HOUSE” in unique, very interesting ways.
Let Downs: Kamaliza’s “Zermatt,” Healy’s “TUCSON,” and Cherelle’s “Saturday Love” all fail to bring a single unique idea to the table.
Verdict: Noon Pacific // 206 started stronger than it finished. What started with a lot of musicians taking risks and trying new things ended with a lot of musicians relying on recycling the same sounds that have been used before. You can stop listening after DUCKWRTH without missing very much.
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.