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Two totally infectious sets from Decoy - the trio of John Edwards, Steve Noble and Alexander Hawkins - reunited with pocket trumpet and saxophone player Joe McPhee on the closing night of his four day residency at Cafe OTO. In the eight years between the recordings which make up ‘AC/DC’ and their last release ‘Spontaneous Combustion’, Decoy and each of its members have been practicing individually at the very top of their form. Coming together again in such celebratory circumstances and in the good company of a fantastic crowd set the scene for a very special night.  As they begin, Alexander Hawkins casts a needling surface between his Hammond organ and John Edwards’ loose splatters and slaps of low end bass. McPhee skitters over them with his pocket trumpet by way of introduction; Steve Noble strikes his rims in anticipation. The mood in the room is that of a rock band reformed, of a certain number of “boys” being “back in town”. The first set sees moments of frenetic free jazz peel off into weirdo soul territory and when switched to saxophone halfway through, McPhee’s romantic lyricism is utterly beautiful. When a groove sets in, Hawkins’ B3 ascension in harmony with an ever powerful Edwards-Noble rhythm section sees the room thicken and swirl to the point of giddiness. There is one unreal part at 22:22 where we’re sure you can hear Edwards’ bass vocalising.  Regrouped for a second set, Steve Noble’s metallic textures meld with detuned arco bass to create an unholy atmosphere, ripe for Hawkins to play out the eerier end of the Hammond. When McPhee sounds a sax motif the band catches it quickly and it’s soon wickedly morphed and stretched by each player, recurring to absurdity in a stoned out funk free for all.  The whole recording bleeds enthusiasm and joyful imagination and is a brilliant document of an unforgettable evening. Decoy are a limitless band who play nowhere near enough. We cannot attest to them any more: Book them, buy this, go and see them if you can.   --- John Edwards / bass Alexander Hawkins / hammond b3 Joe McPhee / pocket trumpet, alto sax, voice Steve Noble / drums --- Recorded live at Cafe OTO by Shaun Crook on Friday 10th May, 2019. Mixed and mastered by James Dunn. Artwork and layout by Oliver Pitt. Photos by Dawid Laskowski. Printed in an edition of 1000. OTOROKU023CD. 

"More buried treasure from Company Week 1982: seven previously unissued Epiphanies by lineups involving Derek Bailey, Ursula Oppens, Julie Tippetts, Keith Tippett, Philipp Wachsmann, Fred Frith, George Lewis, Anne LeBaron, Motoharu Yoshizawa and Akio Suzuki. Fred Frith is a stellar improviser — 1974’s Guitar Solos is still a seminal album of free improv — and he has three opportunities here to showcase his considerable talents. Eleventh is a tour de force of extended technique, with George Lewis working slowly but surely through a variety of trombone mouthpieces, while Frith’s guitar, strummed, bowed or prepared, could be a theremin, a koto, a mouse trapped inside a grandfather clock or a lion cub inside a shoebox. Bookending the album, on Seventh he swaps Webernian shards with Lewis and harpist Anne LeBaron and on Thirteenth, with pianist Keith Tippett, he condenses a whole lifetime of musical exploration into a mere twelve minutes. When it’s over both musicians are so amazed they burst out laughing. Elsewhere, on Eighth, Wachsmann reveals his understated mastery of both his violin and the electronics he’s devised to extend its range, and pianist Ursula Oppens proves she’s as adept as conjuring forth magic from inside her instrument as she is at the keyboard. Major and minor triads too! Ninth is spikier, with Lewis quacking, spitting and wheezing like a flock of geese let loose in a fairground, while Derek Bailey and Motoharu Yoshisawa patiently explore the outer limits of acoustic guitar and double bass. Bailey and Lewis team up again on Twelfth to take on Oppens — and everybody wins. Voice is more to the fore on Tenth, with Julie Tippetts’ coloratura and flute and Akio Suzuki’s analapos and spring gong flying high, while LeBaron, Wachsmann and Yoshizawa weave intricate webs of pizzicati, spiccati and glissandi beneath."

"Most Ghost Trance Music performances begin with the entire ensemble in unison at the opening of the work. What happens afterwards, however, differs widely depending on the piece, the make up of the ensemble, and the ever changing performance practices. At designated points of the line, often in looped sections, one may decide to switch to an improvisation, play a secondary / tertiary piece, or play the melody at a different tempo. There are no fixed rules pertaining to when this happens or for how long, and it may also be done individually or in groups. Composition n. 247 is one of the few Ghost Trance Music works tailored for a specific instrumentation: two saxophones and bagpipes (Anthony Braxton, James Fei, and Matthew Welch). It's been recorded live, and the striking quality of this recording will be evident immediately upon first hearing. "The music on this disc is unlike anything I have participated in, in terms of mental and physical endurance, mobility between different sets of material, and sheer sonic intensity."  - James Fei, NYC, December 2000.  “Ghost Trance Music” is a phrase one hears bandied about in the rather occult discourses of Braxtonologists, but this piece really makes sense of the term. Using the bagpipes not only for their sound but, it seems, their whole tradition, he creates a continuously flowing stream of notes rooted in a regular semiquaver rhythm. At the most simplistic level, this is certainly hypnotic stuff, and when one gets a way into the piec’s hour-long duration, time really does seem to dilate a bit. - Metropolis Free Jazz  --- Anthony Braxton / soprano, f and alsto saxophones; e flat and contrabass clarinets, right channel James Fei / soprano and alto saxophones; bass clarinet, left channel Matthew Welch / bagpipes --- Recorded in Middletown, Connecticut, May 15, 2000 by Jon Rosenburg. Engineered by Stan Wijnans at LMC Studio, London.