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 // 207

  • “Only” by Sunday — Despite a nice guitar part (fully modern but with a foot in the feel of funk), this tune doesn’t really offer much. Vocals are good, Oasis-like, but ultimately not notable. The drumline is droning in the worst way, and the whole thing becomes a very redundant, drawn out disappointment.
  • “Take Me By The Hand” by Hush Moss — A brief gospel choir gives way to what sounds like the result of a collision of funk, soul, a modern iteration of R&B, and Marvin Gaye’s band. It’s all a bit… cheesy, for lack of a better word.
  • “Brooklyn Baby” by The Code — Minimally effected guitars over a bed of airy synth start this number out, after a long fade in. They drop, wordless vocals come in, followed by proper vocals with an R&B feel. Is that some autotune I hear? Then the chorus comes — the song breaks down and reassembles itself. Very low register, but ascending, bubbling synth dominate. Vocals come back in, leading to another disassembly — this time to buzzing electric synths. It’s almost like parts for 4 different songs stitched together. Do they work as a whole? Jury’s out.
  • “Waterfall” by Goss — I don’t even know where to start with this one. It’s like the previous tune, but taken to the next level. It’s less a song and more a chronologically arranged collection of unassociated sounds — Bouncy synth, hyper-clear guitar, roiling bass-y synths, drums (heavy on the cymbals) that seem to fade in and out at their leisure, and a lot of squelch (not to mention the flourishes, including but not limited to faux chimes and sporadic shakers). Also like the previous, I have no idea whether it works, whether I like it, or not.
  • “Feel Alright” by Zanski — This is an interesting track. Everything in it — the drums, the bass, the guitar — are very redolent of late ‘80s/early ‘90s rock or pop rock tunes. Yet as a whole, the ‘80s vibe is more exactly that — just a vague feeling.
  • “POSTCARDS FROM THE MOON” by moonboy inc. — A fairly standard dance-type drumline underscores this tune, which is as airy and laid back as it is driving and danceable. The piano part fits the sound, but it’s nothing I haven’t heard before in plenty of songs like this.
  • “Worth It” by Moses Sumney —  The percussion here is super sparse — nothing but a kick drum (which could be a non-drum instrument or object), finger snaps, and what sounds like a clacker — and super interesting. The only other element to the song, really, are the vocals. These vocals, though, are autotuned into oblivion. And that’s too bad.
  • “Far Away” by isle&fever — Keys, synth somewhere between a buzz and a squeak, a gorgeous bass line. This tune is jazzy, funky, and groovin’. It gets very close to becoming repetitive, but a really nice rhythm section-centric breakdown saves it… mostly.
  • “Sole Lovers” by Kingston — Vibraphone- or marimba-like synth get this song off to a soft start before being joined by loud, gritty, reverbed guitar. Their presence, jarring at first (in a good way), is tempered as the rest of the instrumentation comes in. The song ultimately becomes an airy indie rock tune with a bit of a synthpop undertone.
  • “Small Crimes” by Nilüfer Yanya — Spare acoustic guitar and sultry, silky female vocals. That’s about all there is to this track. There are other elements, sure — namely a really dark, foreboding synth that makes for a nice dichotomy — but the guitar and vocals are the obvious focal points. The guitar is pretty jazzy in nature and the vocals are the type of rich, near-quirky variety very much in vogue nowadays.

Stand Outs: There’s really only one standout on this playlist, and it took me skipping 8 tracks before I found it — Kingston’s “Sole Lovers” is really the only tune here that’s both different and really enjoyable. It has both indie and synthpop elements, but they’re blended in a really nice way. The Code, Goss, Moses Sumney, and Nilüfer Yanya all came close, but they all had their downfalls (lack of cohesion, lack of cohesion, autotune, and overused vocal stylings, respectively) that kept them from a proper Stand Out mention.

Let Downs: I’m going to have to say “Worth It” by Moses Sumney. The percussion was incredible, virtually experimental in its sparseness, and showed both real craft and a willingness to take chances. Unfortunately, Sumney also took a chance on drowning his vocals in an obscene amount of autotune and it backfired hard.

Verdict: Noon Pacific // 207 was a pretty serious disappointment. None of the songs were bad — nothing was un-listenable, or completely devoid of merit. But overall the theme to this week’s mixtape seems to be reusing sounds that have already been done. It was light —extremely light — on originality.

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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