samedi 25 octobre 2014

STOCKMAN: Part of the Industry (2014)

“Danceable but swirling slowly within cosmic, even ethereal, moods Part of the Industry shows a wide range of EM sub-genres with this unique Stockman approach”
1 Monto's Production Line 8:44
2 Part of the Industry 6:28
3 Industrial Hauntings 8:28
4 Brains in Overdrive 9:19
5 In Time Delivery 7:10
6 The Factory Never Sleeps 8:41
7 No Supplies Left 7:23
8 No Supplies Left (Deep Mix) 4:41

SynGate Luna | CD-r GS07 (CD-r 60:28) ***½(IDM)
Some slow beatings of metallic wings are making the squeaking winds float lazily in a nest of reverberations to the parasitic brilliances. Their chants are caramelized by howling metal. The percussions which fall delicately awaken other chants. That of the synths. They are twisting and cooing with passion. In fact, it looks like they cry. Quietly "Monto's Production Line" extricates itself from its morphic membrane with a movement of sequences which gets closer by making its keys wriggling. Solos are always seraphic. Melodious, one would believe to hear Tangerine Dream. They float and daydream on a structure of rhythm which pounds nervously but without abandoning however its ambient shroud. Because if our feet drum on the spot; our winged arms follow the curves of the solos which feed the always rather ambient rhythm of "Monto's Production Line". And it's true! Even if the percussions and sequences shake the moods. You will tell me that you hear a kind of Jarre that I'll answer that you are not really very far! Static rhythms which pound in structures of dub-techno or of dub house rather morphics and which pull us towards a dance floor where we flutter on the spot as a bird trapped in a gust of circular wind, the music of Stockman makes a wide range of the sub-genres of EM which exchanged its clothes of ambiences for those a little more muscled of the cerebral dance. And this will never have been as tangible as with “Part of the Industry”, an album which brings us to the doors of a dark and creative dance music.
With its loops which spin in the heavinesses of a resonant line of pulsation, of a wave-like bass line and of percussions quite hampered to harpoon the rhythm, the title-track offers a floating structure of rhythm. Fragments of harmonies and hollow winds are grafted in a musical tension of which the perpetual restraint plunges us into a structure of rhythm which feeds its ambiguity in a pattern of ambient EM. There are indeed elements of tension, but nothing really explodes. Everything remains relatively ambient. This is like a storm where heterogeneous particles crowd in a long narrow tube. The walls eventually tremble with "Industrial Hauntings". After a brief ambiosonic intro; pulsating sequences and hammering percussions draw up the lines of a rather heavy and lively rhythm. Electronic castanets are flavoring this linear rhythm of psychedelic fineries while that a powerful oscillatrice line draws a wide circular aura of goa, of trance. Stockman trades his clothes of passive electronic monk for those of a DJ who makes his crowd skip until exhaustion. The approaches are always so minimalist and the ambiences remain always so cosmic, except that
Godfried Stockmans
 strives to graft parallel elements which will conquer as much your taste of throwing yourself on a dance floor than to listen to. At the beginning my ears were rather timid; we are quite far from Berlin School or from ambient music here, except that the main beat, very lively, and the lines of rhythms, always rather variable, make that one eventually liked it. And not just a little. The phenomenon also applies to the powerful, but less heavy, "The Factory Never Sleeps" which reminds me the music of the psychedelic trance of the 90's. And what to say about "Brains in Overdrive"? Its introduction is simply delicious. Sequenced keys skip in an effect of cascade in order to drum like touches of piano in the jingles of clapperboards. The movement remains ambient and jumps (hiccups) constantly under a sonic sky multicolored of thousand complaints, as of one thousand noises of a futuristic city on the point to fall asleep. Except that we do not sleep! Cybernetic gurglings invite each other in the static dance. They excite the passive nuances and guide "Brains in Overdrive" towards a heavy oscillating structure which waves lustfully beneath a brilliant mixture of percussions and bass sequences. We should crack for "In Time Delivery", a real FM kind of track. The intro is very ethereal. And want it or not, these synth lines and their seraphic signings prickle the brain. And then the rhythm comes. It falls. Oscillating on sequences to vertical zigzags, hesitating on changeable and slamming percussions, it gets wet for a suave down-tempo which sounds like a kind of slow drum n bass where are cooing the solos and plotting a cabalistic ambience. We fall for it from the first listening. The imprint of Jarre is all over the percussions! Heavy pulsations, flying percussions (and slamming), spheroidal sequences, automated dialogues and oscillations which roll like some slow sonic waves; "No Supplies Left" mixes all these ingredients to offer a solid vibrating techno with nice small ambient phases and cybernetic harmonies which give a futuristic approach to a music which is not unknown to us. Its deep-mix mixes cosmic moods in a movement of gradual trance, but not total, which burn the fast and nervous pulsations, as well as these floating riffs which rock the rambling synthesized harmonies.
The strength of
Stockman is to mix well an ambient and cosmic approach in rhythms which are more human. Bang-bang and tsitt-tsitt are well measured, the cybernetic dialogues are not too much exaggerated and the percussions click just enough in order to not want to close the sound. The melodious portion, as well as the ambient phases, is splendidly lying in good synth solos which remind the harmonious tones of the Dream, analog period. In fact, “Part of the Industry” strengthens the approaches of Kraftwerk, Element 4, Tangerine Dream and Jean Michel Jarre in an envelope of more contemporary trance. A beautiful buffet which feeds well the ears without asking too many efforts to the feet.
Sylvain Lupari (October 25th, 2014)

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jeudi 23 octobre 2014

FRATOROLER: Nano (2014)

“Nano is another fine EM album from Fratoroler whose aim to establish the links between the retro and the new Berlin School is done with a graceful ease”

1 Nano 20:24
2 Quarks 13:51
3 Macrozoom 12:32
4 Systematic Different 19:14

SynGate | CD-r FR04 (CD-r 66:01) ***½
(A mix of retro and new Berlin School)
An electronic dialect and intergalactic gurglings open the first seconds of “Nano”. The long title-track plunges towards a cosmic universe that Tomita once prepared with his brilliant Kosmos at the end of the 70's. Between the retro analog sounding and the new Berlin School, Fratoroler invites us to another fascinating sonic adventure in the heart of the Teutonic electronic experiments. Chords are ringing here and there, while "Nano" embalms our ears with electronic breezes. The silvery particles are melting in this immense cumulus of white noises of which the sparklings bleed to white the hot caresses of synths. Always, riffs and chords are roaming in search of a more tangible structure. And a crystal clear sequence goes out of this ambient slump where orchestrations sculpt beautiful listening favors. It drags a series of keys which skip of a light step, shaping an ambient rhythm which is nibbled by a bass line and its furtive notes. Both lines draw a harmonious sequences & bass duel of which the echoes draw parallel rhythms which complement each other, while another movement gets loose to forge a more fluid approach. The drizzle of breezes amplifies its stranglehold on this rather passive rhythm which, calmly, misleads its last beatings in a black hole where abstruse choruses and organi-cosmic chirpings fill ambiences which grazes the interstellar esotericism. Evasive solos, kind of Jean Michel Jarre, float over this profound ambient passage, while a sequence escapes and entails its pals in a series of rhythmic loops which drum such as a light cosmic gallop. Here is of what are made the 66 minutes of “Nano”!
Thomas Köhler and Frank Rothe exploit at full the 20 minutes of "Nano" by offering an approach of minimalist structure which divides into halves its lazily chords in order to shape figures of rhythms which split, forging so some splendid and hypnotic harmonious rhythms, and go astray in some dense ambiocosmic passages where solos and electronic effects make the link between a retro approach and a more contemporary one. If "Quarks" forces the doors of a more steady rhythm (I adore these ambient solos which float all over “Nano”) with two movements of sequences to the impulsive beatings and opposite tones, the more ambient and a bit gloomy "Macrozoom" plunges us into this delicious electronic universe where the sequences sleep, ring and float in forms of passive rhythms everywhere around suave singings of synth with sweet fluty fragrances. As for me, "Systematic Different" is the cornerstone of “Nano”. Its intro is perfumed by a sibylline approach with fogs, filled of spectral voices, which float on a cemetery where bones are dancing. An intrusive pad of a bucolic organ unveils a somber sinister smoggy chant which floats with lugubrious reverberations. We are in a pit for the black shadows, where Klaus Schulze has already been, when the brilliance emerges from the darkness and when pulsations meditate the slow ambient rhythm of "Systematic Different". Definitively, Schulze has been here. A charming flute also pierces the moods. And its peaceful singing makes undulate some astral particles, whereas that a soft movement of sequences amasses its keys which wave in the curves of a bass line and in the feather hand of the soft floating orchestrations. The rhythm may do peaceful kicks that it stays of silk and scatters independent keys which split its line in order to enrich it with an approach as much more harmonious than rhythmic. We float at full in the cerebral rhythms. And the lines of synth are parading between our ears such as celestial bodies which illuminate at times a quite black cosmos. And the solos come. Ambient and floating, they spread a musicality so vintage and so serene as the charm persists. And the sequences! Hot and juicy, they make kicks with analog tones which become entangled with the electronic dialects and which make that this music defined with difficulty its parallels between cosmic and esoteric. It's beautiful. It's very good and that completes another very beautiful album from Fratoroler. But are we really surprised?
Sylvain Lupari (October 23rd, 2014)

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mardi 21 octobre 2014

MYTHOS: The Dark Side of Mythos (2000)

“As much unlikely as it could be, this album from Mythos will plunge you for sure up until at the door of your perceptions of theatrical fear”

1 Rose X 8:13
2 Trust No One 5:32
3 X-Cursion 5:41 
4 The Truth Is Out There 6:16 
5 Mythos X  7:29
6 I Want to Believe 7:54 
7 X-Traterra 7:27
8 Zombies´S Supper 4:18

Mythos Music (CD 52:52) ****
(Theatrical dark EM)
Mythos is quite a character, nearly a living legend if we consider his roadmap, in the universe of EM who likes to touch all the phases of his visions and developing complex works with its panoply of electronic toys and assorted instruments. From rock to Krautrock and to electronic, everything he brushes ends to be something quite tasty. A studio recording has no secret to him. Just throw an ear to his albums in the best of the German psychedelic years and you will observe this intense and very enveloping musical structure which feed all of his compositions. And this “The Dark Side of Mythos” is no exception. And if the intriguing artwork appeals you, tell yourself that it's nothing compared to the music.
It's directly from depths of the infinite hell that "Rose X" opens. Latin singings surrounded by lugubrious animal tones circulate around metallic beatings which click like the clock of the death. The beat is mainly ambient with anvil hits which shape the clock of a tenebrous world. It rests so on a lot of metallic noises as well as crying from beast or tortured souls. Dead moments punctuate short atonal phases where we guess a soul being sacrificed...or murdered. This is creepy like hell. The beat returns with a series of clinking which are flooded by monk's prayers and by mooing of unknown beasts. But don't get me wrong. The beat is very atmospherical and moves through a mechanical chain which clinks and resounds among strange moanings and howlings. This will be perfect for Halloween to afraid the sneaky ones who want candies. We can imagine the worst, so much the music and ambiences which nest all over “The Dark Side of Mythos” flirts with the satanic neurosis. "Trust no One" follows the same corridors of the darkness on a so smooth sequence move which make waving its key, some of them are organic and other are in anvil tones, in an ambient setting convenient to the satanic rhythms. This is great horror picture music. "X-Cursion" is quieter and also more musical, even with its sinister and disturbing sound effects, with a smooth sequence pattern which knocks a slow beat beneath a dense horrific sound pattern. We are indeed in the very dark side of 
Mythos. The moods are heavy and a nice Mellotron flute emerges to charm are ears with an almost sensual chant. This is a very nice passage. "The Truth is out There" follows this path of indefinite structures of rhythm. In fact, the beat is slow, almost absent, and beats through organic sequences which gurgle in a dense uncomfortable mood. Master of the ambiences and of the places, with his systematic and much chiselled approach, Stephan Kaske keeps us on the alert with slow and mesmerizing rhythms which move surreptitiously in tortuous atmospheres that he draws in order to lead us in halfway between fright and charm. Let's take "Mythos X" and its lento staccato effect. The mood is totally frightening with those diabolical whistles which float on a floating structure of rhythm a bit jerky. Intense and dark, the track evolves subtle in a more musical approach worthy of a movie where the gentle soul runs breathless, his beloved nearly turn into a vampire, in a cemetery fills of mud up to his knees. Scary but quite bewitching.  This is the best part of this ode to terror. The moods and rhythms of “The Dark Side of Mythos” go quieter and nicer as we advance on the album. Always dark, "I Want to Believe" turns out to be a very nice and ambient carousel. The movement reveals two parallels, and paradoxical, lullabies which slowly turn around in a deep setting of fear, thanks to thunders, violin mist and a sneaky march of sequences. The more the music gets in, the more we are enchanted. This fascinating spiral swirls delicately on a movement which takes its intensity in its tone, like an inverted bolero. A totally divine moment which pursues its intriguing charm with "X-Traterra" and its gloomy ambiences where are fighting segments of dark harmonies which sparkle like lonely shooting stars in a foreign universe. I sense a bit of Software there as the movement goes near the doors of cosmos. It's impossible to avoid any links between “The Dark Side of Mythos” and the apocalyptical music of Mark Shreeve, or yet some big Redshift but in a less improvised setting, and of course Jim Kirkwood. "Zombies´S Supper" ends this ode to terror with a nice melodious approach stuffed by keys with shimmered tones which swirl and swirl, such as an unfinished melody. Unmistakably, Mythos wears the clothes of a Ghost of The Opera new genre with this work, all the same intensely theatrical, which is “The Dark Side of Mythos”. In spite of the very black moods, the music survives thanks to finely wave-like rhythms. Ambient certainly, but deliciously lively. And no! Stephan Kaske has not lost his rather melodious approach which floats like a balm on these ambiences of film terror of which the sound effects bring us near to the imaginary Satanism. A music ideal for Halloween, or for your murders and mysteries evening, “The Dark Side of Mythos” will blow you literally away and brings you also towards the depths of your child fear. Fans of Jim Kirkwood music; go get this one!
Sylvain Lupari (October 20th, 2014)

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dimanche 19 octobre 2014

APEIRON: Imagic (1993)

“Imagic is a solid album of EM which unveils a pretty good range of sub-genres from a musical style which literally revolutionized the musical art”

1 Way To Paradise 5:59
2 Imagic 14:17
3 Vortex 8:20
4 Head-land 14:36
5 Roomless 12:37
6 75 Dreams 3:59

Spheric Music | SMCD2001 (CD 60:09) ****
(Progressive Berlin School)
I like going off to explore these albums and these artists that the time has buried far in the forgetting. At the time where the Berlin School style gets metamorphosed with the presence of the MIDI technology and the massive use of samplings, a movement of resistance raged in the German underground scene. The big labels have skimmed the genre, keeping the most known names and favoring the American answer to the German EM; the New Age and the Easy Listening. Artists such as Lambert Ringlage, Stephen Parsick, Klaus Schulze (with IC), Robert Schroëder and Mario Schönwalder, to name only those, stayed the guard dogs of a movement which became a little more progressive and which at the same time was also going to give birth to the New Berlin School. It's in this stride that Spheric Music was set up. This label of Lambert Ringlage was going to produce a series of albums which would respect the tangents of the German movement, while finding a pleiad of local talents and a few outsiders. Apeiron is one of these names. Andreas Konrad is the man behind Apeiron. “Imagic” is his 3rd album to appear on Lambert's label and recuts a surprising range of a genre which literally revolutionized the musical art.
 "Way to Paradise" tickles our hearing with a lineage of twinkling stars which sparkle like knocks of baguettes on a crystal xylophone. A pad of voices invites itself quite slowly in this astral choreography, on which is also added some rollings of celestial water. Between a sordid hymn to Halloween and the seraphic moods of
Legend, "Way to Paradise" accosts our listening with a heavy and slow rhythm where the synth throws at us a very New Age acute melody that percussions make shiver with strong strikes. The approach militarizes itself, as a lot of structures on “Imagic”, with drum rolls whereas the synth stays of silk with this wonderful melody which wriggles in a series of solos of which our ears had so much forgotten all the charms. This is very beautiful, on the verge of being lyrical, it catches our attention on the spot and it's deliciously musical. And then it ends rather abruptly! The title-track starts with small ringings which seem to be trapped in winds of which the quirky dissonances tangle up in oblivion. Percussions, kind of hand drums, drum a plan of absent rhythm while quite slowly "Imagic" finds its shape. A spheroidal shape whose outlines remain fuzzy. Some nice juicy sequences join this draft movement which swirls in an astral cotton pad. The synth comes again throwing these famous solos which are the core of “Imagic”, while the track, apparently inspired by Tangerine Dream of the 80's, lost its beatings in an astral passage where a series of sequences a la Poland restructures a more progressive approach from which the essences Krautrock perspire throughout a thick cloud of superb harmonious solos. And quite slowly, the beatings and the sequences, to the acrobatics randomly so attractive, are fading away while that "Imagic" evaporates its last musical moments in some sinuous line with a resounding acoustic. I may say that it could take some times to like these strange figures of rhythms but at the end we get out of it with difficulty.
This observation goes to the whole work which has a clear tendency for being more progressive with rhythms, sometimes motionless, which change directions constantly. And this even if "Way to Paradise" seduced straightaway and that "Vortex" releases a harmonious rhythm which finds niche between our ears. The approach is always so near improvisation, or rough draft, with an intro filled with heterogeneous noises which sparkle on the back of cosmic waves. We even hear there singings of stellar whales. A structure of rhythm emerges with the complicity of two segments of sequences, one is melodic and the other organic, which skip and pound in an a little bit hesitating symbiosis. Andreas Konrad covers his tactics of rhythm to circular outline a bit blurred with more beautiful solos, as twisted as melodious, whereas the rhythm wins in velocity with other sequences which shiver as a figure of synchronized aquatic swimming. This vision applies as much to "Head-land" and "Roomless", to some variances near! After some hits of carillons, "Head-land" gets out of the limbos with an ingenious movement of sequences where the crisscrossed jumps of the keys bloom in colorful tones. Still there the electronic percussions hammer and roll in the shade of a more harmonious line which draws a slender stroboscopic filet. Although cosmic, "Head-land" spits a steady rhythm. The rhythm becomes heavier and livelier with a meshing of sequences and percussions of which the very livened up bed welcomes these fabulous solo which perfume the hybrid ambiences of “Imagic” of astral singings. After a very ambiospherical intro, "Roomless" attacks the peace of mind with a beautiful sequenced serpentine which gets loose from these morphic moods. The keys skip in waterfalls there. Trampling in the fragility of their shadows, they swirl in vaporous synth lines which remind the spirits of the Dream. In spite of the attacks of sequences and the bites of the percussions, "Roomless" remains static and swirls as a damaged stroboscopic hoop in a mishmash of sequences and percussions which have difficulty in well structuring a wild rhythm but all the same rather still. And this in spite of all these sequences which flutter and wink here and there, harmonizing their rhythmic melodies with synth solos always so lyrical while the percussions drop their last beatings in a dying structure. This is a cosmic rock rather difficult to tame but which in the end revives well enough the flames of the past. "75 Dreams" ends “Imagic” like "Way to Paradise" had started it. The chords remind me the melody of Heart and Soul, but in a delicious lento mood. The synths are always so magnetizing and flood our ears of these so seraphic e-chants which bewitch all these structures a bit complicated of a beautiful album forgotten on the counter of time and which this chronicle, I hope, will give you a little the taste to make a real beautiful detour in a period when the Berlin School was in full transformation.
Sylvain Lupari (October 19th, 2014)

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vendredi 17 octobre 2014

SEQUENTIAL DREAMS: Quantum Earth (2014)

“Solid e-rock, with a zest of IDM, flavoured of a futuristic vision, Quantum Earth has a lot to seduce those who want to rock on solid cosmic grounds”
1 Quantum Earth 6:32
2 The Universe Builders 7:26
3 Destination Terra 7:10
4 Solar Sails 6:34
5 Celestial Bodies 5:14
6 The Ice Canyons of Miranda 6:00
7 Fireflies in the Starlight 4:48
8 Infinite Improbabilities 11:52

Sequential Dreams Bandcamp (DDL 55:38) ***½
( Psybient and Psybeat E-rock)
Sound waves take the shape of air-raid sirens. The roarings are quieting down in a kind of din from where raises a heavy jerky structure of rhythm. With a plethora of bass sequences and pulsations, electronic and guitar riffs, as well as a lot of percussions with skins of Bongo drums which are thundering a lively rhythm of which the futuristic tribal approaches have quite the appearances of a solid cosmic e-rock a la Jarre, the title-track of “Quantum Earth” sets the tone to another solid album of electronic rock with a futuristic dimension from this collective project (Celestial View, The Roboter, Johan Tronestam, Kuutana and Synthesist) that is Sequential Dreams. Without surprises, the international quintet offers an album where the rhythms are sometimes raging in moods from time to time sieved by moderations and where the harmonies always hang on to the hairs of our ears. Hard-hitting, with short passages a bit more moderated, "Quantum Earth" forces our eardrums with a heavy and lively electronic approach which is lying on a meshing of sequences and percussions to which are added beautiful ethereal synth pads, filled of sweet artificial voices, which counterbalance the ferocity of the rhythm. For the fans of Sequential Dreams, we are on familiar ground. And I would add that this “Quantum Earth” is a little wilder with a technoïd approach which is very near to a loud IDM. The rhythms cross the tribal aromas, in particular because of the bongo drums, in envelopes which mix the mid and the down tempos. But it's heavy. This is strong e-rock very influenced by the periods of electronic rhythms from Jean Michel Jarre and Tangerine Dream. When to those who like an EM tortured by keen percussions and stormy sequences far from the wanderings sequenced of Berlin School, excepted for the very beautiful "Infinite Improbabilities", and closer to a type of psybeat, Sequential Dreams should appears in your notebook of discoveries to come.
"The Universe Builders" also begins with a long whoosh and a lot of short whaash. The intro is fascinating with a double speed sonic dialect which will call back the attempts of communication in Close Encounter. Soon, the rhythm begins to sparkle and gesticulate with deep sequences before falling in a kind of heavy hip-hop with a pace, clubbed by robust percussions and bangings of hands, which skips in a puddle of pulsations, gurgling and electronic winds. Break-dance or hip-hop; "The Universe Builders" skips and pounds with sequences which flicker mockingly and orchestral synth pads which make counterweight to this tempo pounding in a thousand of sound flavors. Less heavy and closer to synth-pop, "Destination Terra" crackles on a structure of electronic percussions and sequences with an unbridled flow, while the harmonious envelope crosses as much a cosmic, at both ambient and ethereal, as a synth-pop. Just like "Celestial Bodies" moreover, but which leans more towards a strong IDM. "Solar Sails" is the relaxation moment on “Quantum Earth”. Its intro is seraphic and the rhythm which holds its hand is silky slow and soaked of a dense sound fauna which brings a bit of distortion. "The Ice Canyons of Miranda" offers a structure of sequences where a line of jumping keys gallops in the harmonies of another more fragile line. The synths bathe the atmospheres of a heavenly approach which is very near the fragrances of Tangerine Dream. In fact, the rhythm moves with good percussions and with beautiful harmonies which make relive the vibe of the Canyon Dreams. It's beautiful synth-pop, as much delicate and cheerful as "Destination Terra". "Fireflies in the Starlight" brings the clock to rhythm with a heavy mid-tempo which oscillates on good sequences, as lively as those bongo drum percussions, which thunder to the ton and with solid riffs of an e-guitar which remind the Miramar ambiences, always from TD. And like on every track of “Quantum Earth”, the music dives into a more dreamy, a more ethereal passage, before taking back its shape with subtle modifications in its structure. The introduction of "Infinite Improbabilities" makes us revisit the dreamy moods of Flashpoint with a line of bass sequences of which the oscillations crawl under the charms of a synth to the singings flavored by the flutes of desert. A carpet of prisms covers this sneaky rhythm whereas the singings take on a dress of spectres. The ambiences are on the edge of the works from the psychotronic era with organic pulsations and threatening synth pads which depict the evolutionary rhythms of the Dream, periods Wavelength and Near Dark. Moreover it's about this album that I'm thinking when the percussions approach the moods with strong disordered strikes, turning upside down a passive rhythm which gesticulates like a poisoned skeleton before becoming as steady as the good passages of Near Dark. By far, the most fascinating track on “Quantum Earth” which at the end is a solid album of electronic rock to the trends always so futuristic.
Sylvain Lupari (October 17th, 2014)

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