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 // 209
- “Who’s Got You Singing Again” by PREP — Within four seconds, this tune brings you through three distinct musical genres — bluesy guitar, jazzy organ, and buzzy electro synth. It continues in this amorphous, chameleonic way — a little jazz here, a little soul there, a touch of Latin flare here, a dash of R&B there. And it all works quite well together — it’s a chill, grooving tune.
- “Girl” by Belarbi — This track plays on different genre influences, though to a lesser extent. At its core, it’s an indie rock tune, best exemplified by that clean chirping guitar tone. The choruses pick up an electropop kind of vibe, and the vocals are taken in nearly R&B directions. Another chill, grooving tune.
- “Talk To Me” by Blonder — And here we have the completion of the cycle, a more-or-less straight-up electropop tune. Super steady drums (programmed or not, I can’t tell), a number of complementary synths (namely one with a definite marimba tone and another with an almost 8-bit one in the chorus), reserved guitar strums heavy on funk-like mutes.
- “We Just Haven’t Met Yet” by Russ — Heavy-handedly strummed guitar start this number off, and are joined by full and fluid vocals, words bleeding into each other. The choruses are aided by programmed drums that would be more at home in an early-2000s R&B tune or a classic hip hop track. That guitar we started off with is this song’s downfall — same two chords, over and over again, becomes incredibly repetitious.
- “Feel Something” by Jason Gaffner — As happens often here, this song is heavily ‘80s influenced. It’s not a downright nostalgia track — notably different from its 30-year-old muses are the synth tones, which are decidedly modern — but the intention is clear. The vocals, the beat, the overall ethos are all reaching back to that era-defining ‘80s synthpop sound.
- “You Got Me” by Meeka Kates — Modern smooth R&B stylings with electronic overtones — the combination can often become dissonant, but here everything blends smoothly. The vocals have a natural tenderness — other acts often have to force this feeling with falsettos and overly-breathy techniques. Thrown in a soul touch here and a doo-wop there and we’ve got a solid tune on our hands.
- “Get You Now” by Mennska — A super clean jazzy electric guitar opens us open for this tune, which toes the line between music and muzak. It’s nothing exception, but its good. But then there’s a drop. That’s right, a drop — like it Skrillex was suddenly interested in mixing softer jazz numbers. It’s really unique, really interesting, really effective. Turns the whole tune right on its head.
- “Summertime Love feat. Josh Tobias” by Siraiva — This bouncy, danceable tune is like a decade-spanning dancepop retrospective, spanning from now back to the ‘80s. The whole vibe is ‘80s, the bass is fairly modern, the drums and vocals are pretty ‘90s, except in the choruses where they’ve got a definite ‘00s bent to them.
- “Back2Life ft. Le Youth” by No Way Back — Classic EDM drums (might even be a TR-808, though I’m not nearly so talented as to be able to pick out different drum machines out from each other). Actually, listening further in, that’s really all this is — a very standard, very ‘90s-esque electronic dance tune.
- “I Guess It’s Cool To Be Lonely” by Autumn In June — This track is a lot like the previous in that it’s a ‘90s flavored dance tune, pretty straight forward, no frills. The difference is that, generally speaking, this one is just a little bit better.
Stand Outs: Mennska got me with “Get You Now” — it’s jazzy near-muzak sound was nice, but the dubstep-like drop and electronics that come in later are a real curveball. And what’s more, it all worked quite well together.
Let Downs: “We Just Haven’t Met Yet” by Russ is this week’s letdown. The vocals (I want to call them “lazy” but that seems mean — they’re more stylized in a nonchalant manner) are interesting, and even the slightly misplaced drums aren’t that bad — but that damn droning guitar kills the whole thing.
Verdict: Noon Pacific // 209 is seriously middle-of-the-road. I managed to name a single stand out and a single let down, but I had to really try at it. Otherwise, this playlist is a collection of perfectly acceptable tunes. All together it’s a real chilled out vibe — perfect for throwing on at a laid back, late-summer get together, pleasantly fading into the background.
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.