Follow Jake Stanczak aka Kill The Noise on social media or have a conversation with him in person, and be prepared to stumble into a world of impassioned opinions, profound assessments, and sometimes polarizing vociferations. While many public figures parade around this way as a sensational façade, the sentiments that Stanczak broadcasts are not a gimmick. Whether he’s talking about music, politics, or a bevy of abstract ideals of humanity, Stanczak projects an authenticity unlike any other participant in the dance music community. This resolute representation of his own mindset and agenda, then, is naturally mirrored into his art, which is why since 2007, Kill The Noise’s musical output has consistently been unapologetic, unrelenting, and ever-evolving while always feeling unaffected by flash-in-the-pan trends and short-lived cash grabs.
It’s been over eight years since the Kill The Noise project was conceived, and during that time, we’ve witnessed Stanczak assert himself as one of the leading figures in the more advanced, harder sounds of dance music alongside guys like Skrillex and Knife Party. Releases on OWSLA and his own label, Slow Roast, although spacious in their timing, highlighted the increasingly developed sound of the Los Angeles-based producer, and today, it’s clear that all of Stanczak’s progression has led to the monumental release of his debut album, OCCULT CLASSIC.
Years in the making, Kill The Noise’s LP is a conglomerate of sounds that dually carries the weight of past KTN releases while staring directly into the eyes of the future. Right from the opening bell, Stanczak’s decades of rock influence are underlined with a vocal chord-ripping introduction from AWOLNATION’s Aaron Bruno who immediately defines the energy of the record. Longtime fans of KTN will rejoice at the familiar snarls and snares of “Kill It 4 The Kids” — a message right off the bat that this album is not going soft on anyone. The following track, “FUK UR MGMT”, in many ways embodies the convergence of bass music of 2015 with that from 2011. Kill The Noise tries his hand at the emergent subgenre of bass house, nailing a pulsing 130BPM bassline belter before tearing into a ferocious dubstep breakdown in the track’s second half — almost as if Stanczak is saying, “Hey look, I can do all of this shit you kids are doing, and oh yeah, remember this ground-shaking dubstep I can make too?”
From here, OCCULT CLASSIC diversifies into a range of sonic territories. “Mine”, “Without A Trace”, and poignant closing track “All In My Head” reveal a less aggressive side to Kill The Noise. While he still includes bold sounds and dense production, there’s a lighter feel to these elements of the record that illuminate the fact that Stanczak is fully treating OCCULT CLASSIC like a true artist album, not an unorganized, thoughtless collection of bangers to be tossed aside like yesterday’s news. It’s this risk, this stepping out on a ledge for KTN that is so appealing in OCCULT CLASSIC.
“Lose Ya Love” sounds like Disco accidentally walked into Stanczak’s studio and walked out with its shirt inside out and pants on backwards. “I Do Coke With Feed Me” is a brave social commentary on the idiocracy of cocaine abuse (which some morons are sure to interpret as a personal advocacy for drug use). Stanczak’s D&B and dub roots show face in the skanking “Spitfire Riddim”. And while “Dolphin On Wheels” has been met with very mixed reviews from KTN’s fan base, every single fan should LOVE this song and here is why — the fact that KTN sat with Dillon in a studio and played around with dolphin loops for hours/days/weeks means that he is still having fun making music (which is also touched upon directly in the record’s concluding track). There’s a creative soul to be found in that ridiculous piece of whatever-you-call-it, and that should be noted and appreciated. I’ll take “Dolphin On Wheels” over some lackluster, vanilla slice of imitated garbage every day of the week.
At its core, OCCULT CLASSIC is an accurate projection of who Kill The Noise is as an artist — complex, loud, witty, and tenacious. The sounds are as genuine as his Twitter feed. Nothing is pretentious. Nothing is misrepresentative. A lot of work went into this album, and it shows. Congratulations on a top notch debut record, Jake.
Pick up OCCULT CLASSIC available today on OWSLA. Stream all of it below.