DJ Mayonnaise is the Axl Rose of the Anticon collective. The dude spent eight years producing Still Alive, his sophomore record. The title addresses the delay, but also describes his label. Once an indie hot spot, thanks to Sage Francis' Personal Journals, the hip-hop imprint made a respectable but not popular decision to explore the abstract, rather than produce a string of commercially successful clones.
While Mayo's debut, 1999's 55 Stories, showed off his scratch-and-sample skills, Alive features his talent for composition and collaborations with live musicians. "The Windham Song" is a trip-hop gem, melding surging guitar, piercing sax, and a gritty breakbeat.
Like many Anticon artists, Mayo digs effects: "Post Reformat" throbs with synths and wildly reverberating beats. Despite the heavy production, Alive sounds warm and organic, the perfect blend of man and machine. "Strateegery," the album's only vocal track, features rhymes from Massachusetts' k-the-i???, whose clumsy but unique flow mixes well with Mayo's scratchy backdrop.
Alive is strong throughout, exploring the avant-garde while remaining accessible. Not only is the disc proof that DJ Mayonnaise is sill alive, but both he and Anticon are still relevant.