It’s been eight years since DJ Mayonnaise, one of the founding fathers of the art-rap Anticon label/collective, debuted with 55 Stories. With a return to his hometown of Portland, ME, Mayonnaise has found the inspiration for sophomore album Still Alive. Already a detail-oriented producer, Mayonnaise also injects an organic sound and evolving movement into this mostly instrumental album. Still Alive opens strong with a woodblock rhythm, panning drums and dark synth for "Post Reformat” before lightening the mood somewhat for "Easily Distracted” then slowing down the pace immensely for "May Days.” Afterwards, a few live musicians assist Mayonnaise in creating a bluesy rock track with elements of jazz improv for "The Windham Song,” the first truly notable track, which Mayonnaise then follows with a short, spacey phone message interlude, making the transition to the album's only full-on vocal track a little easier. "Strateegery” is a grungy, guitar-driven hip-hop track perfectly suited to the abrasive poli-sci-fi raps of k-the-i???. A few more offerings like that would have been appreciated. Things slow down again with "Dawson's Anthem 2005” before picking up near the finish line. The official album closer, "The End of the Beginning,” is a dark, brooding production that combines slow-paced drums with soaring strings, frantic violin, organ and a synth bass, although hidden track "Elecinstv2” is a guitar-heavy, big beat production that actually ends Still Alive properly on a powerful, inspiring note.
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