The Future Sound of London ‘The Most Important Moments In A Life’ book/CD

FSOLBookCover+CDTime machine. Pod rooms, Liquid Insects and Tales of Ephidrina (must dig that out again). Westside, Jumpin’ & Pumpin’, Virgin, EBV, FSOLDigital. A can of worms. Master tapes, promos, press releases and magazine reviews. Reaching for Discogs. More questions than answers. Just who was Philip Pin? What happened to the longform film, ‘Yage’? The first band to ever offer downloadable music? (yes, apparently they were)

FSOLBook1FSOLBook2Reading FSOL‘s scrapbook of their career made me sad rather than nostalgic for the music industry of old. For all its technological advancements, a lot of which the band spearheaded, we’re left with a shadow of the brave new world promised by the online digital revolution. In a week when Solid Steel‘s Vimeo account was terminated without warning over a single copyright claim, a time when an entire radio station’s Soundcloud account disappears, one artist sells more than the entire top 200 combined and independent labels are being told there’s a 14-16 week wait for pressing vinyl, it’s a sobering read.

FSOLBook4FSOLBook5There’s a quote from Radio 1’s then controller, Matthew Bannister, in one of the clippings, saying that “…FSOL typified the kind of forward-looking outfit the station wanted to embrace”, and, for a while, it did. Unfortunately, rejecting the lagered up anthems needed to become poster children for an electronic generation to forge a more cerebral path into the charts, it was only a matter of time before the bubbling Britpop and Big Beat bandwagons changed that.

FSOLBook6The book’s also filled with quaint technological reminders of the time, mention of ADATs, Power Mac1800/80s, laser discs, images of Syquests and floppy discs and the web frequently mentioned as just ‘Internet’. There’s a noticeable drop off in the amount of press after ‘Dead Cities’ and you realise that, despite releasing well over two albums worth of material and countless mixes, the duo’s Amorphous Androgynous cosmic rebirth only really gained acclaim after their Oasis remix and first ‘Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble…’ mix CD. By that point in time the ‘Psych’ word was back on people’s lips and once again Gary and Brian earned their ‘Future Sound…’ tag from having plowed this furrow since an aborted 1997 compilation a full decade before the genre made its resurgence.

FSOLBook8FSOLBook7The ‘Life In Moments’ CD that accompanies the book is a treat too, offering a physical version of several tracks given away free as digital EPs with items purchased from the FSOLDigital webstore. The amazing ‘I Turn To Face The Sun’ is worth the price alone amongst the unreleased and alternate mixes. Buy it here

FSOLBook10 FSOLBook12 FSOLBook11Talking of unreleased FSOL material, the previously announced soundtrack to the computer game Mushroom 11 has been expanded to include four new tracks and comes as a download with purchases of the game. If you want to get a copy try here and here (links courtesy of the Galaxial Pharmaceutical website).

Mushroom-11-logoAnd it doesn’t rain, it pours, The Amorphous Androgynous have a 14 minute Monstrous Psychedelic Bubble remix called ‘Murdered & Downer’ on The Kooks‘ remix album, Hello, What’s Your Name?, available from 4th December. It’s already on the web if you search hard enough…

*STOP PRESS!: There’s a Black Friday sale on at their webstore right now, lots discounted, go take a look…

X-Ray Audio & The Flexibition at the Horse Hospital

Above is the flexi disc that comes free with the limited edition version of Stephen Coates‘ new book on Soviet Bone Music, ‘X-Ray Audio’. The book and exhibition launches this Saturday at the Horse Hospital in London showing discs, films and images that tell the story of how these strange artifacts came to be.

On Dec 5th at the same venue I’ll be in conversation with Stephen showcasing some of my flexi disc collection, playing selections and telling the stories behind them. First through the door will get a random flexi and Stephen will also bring some of his Soviet 78rpm discs too no doubt.

Flexibition flyer web

Flexibition #48: Stones Throw L.A. Record magazine flexi’s

Back in 2012 and 2013, the Stones Throw label placed flexi discs inside four consecutive issues of L.A. Record magazine (Summer, Fall, Winter, Spring – issues 107-110), each by a different artist. Vex Ruffian, Boardwalk, Jonwayne & Jonti and Chrome Canyon all contributed tracks and they’re obviously pretty hard to find unless you live in California. Some show up on Discogs but are becoming harder and harder to find at a decent price as collectors of the label snap them up.

Stones Throw flexidiscx3

Speaking of Stones Throw and seeing as it’s ‘Black Friday’ tomorrow I have to highlight their release with the Vinyl Factory even though it’s not a flexi disc. A white triangular 7″ by The Egyptian Lover housed inside a fold out, gold foil embossed pyramid sleeve featuring two of his most-loved classics, ‘Egypt, Egypt‘ and ‘Girls’ (Bonus Beats) in what must be 45 packaging of the year even if it’s not going to be record box-friendly. egyptian-lover-triangle1egyptian-lover-triangle2 egyptian-lover-triangle5

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Images from the KLF night at the Cube Cinema

Cube crowd
Scenes from last weekend’s KLF-themed night at the Cube Cinema, Bristol. John Higgs gave a talk and there was an hour-long video montage by Mr Hopkinson of which this is but a short segment.

Below my friends Phil and Stuart prepare to burn part of their entrance fee which was given back to them upon entry. Jonathan Harris led several money burning rituals outside and writes about the experience on his blog here.

Phil & Stu@Cube
Several attendees purchased the One Million Mu notes that I designed for the night and posted their acquisitions afterwards, sorry for the lack of credits but I know the last one is DJ Moneyshot‘s copy. I’m still waiting for my copies in the post but will post shots when they arrive.

BenSwag KLF$&matcheslarge Moneyshot note

The Jaarbeurs International Collectors Fair, Utrecht

Deltafreight11.05am and I’m sitting on a train in Rotterdam Centraal Station, waiting to depart after leaving a grey, wet Brussels at 8.30 that morning. I’m in the silent carriage, with ear plugs in. When the train pulls out it’s so slick and quiet it feels like we’re running on silk. The silence is glorious, the sun is shining and the landscape filled with all manner of quirky, forward-thinking Dutch architecture. Solar panels, clean, modern angles, a half-built curved structure like a rising flower bulb just outside the station and two lifelike giraffe’s heads and necks sprouting from nowhere. The multi-colouredl graffiti that always forms like weeds around train stations tumbles out of the tunnels, gradually withering away as we leave the city. I spot a pristine white Delta piece on a rusted freight train not far from the city’s boundary. It’s so quiet I’m aware that my fingers typing are making a racket in the carriage. I’m seated on the top deck, a glorious view of the flat landscape before me and the train glides on, they even have free wifi – must resist!

I should be back in Brussels, getting breakfast and checking out to meet up with DK and Debruit for a car ride to The Hague but instead I’m on my way to Utrecht to slot an afternoon’s digging session in at the Record Planet Mega Record fair. Realising the night before that it was actually only a 35 min train ride away from Den Haag and on the insistence of Andy Votel via a Twitter conversation (‘it’s totally on route!’) I decided to forego the lie in and make the most of my time on the continent this weekend. The record fair at Jaarbeurs is reckoned to be the biggest in the world, certainly in Europe anyway and the scale of it just cannot be comprehended by viewing pictures online alone. Never has so much cardboard and vinyl been crammed into such capacious air craft hanger-like spaces. I’d been once, back in 2004, before my kids were born, thus since preventing me from returning on such a frivolous jolly as a weekend-long record shopping spree. But now I’ve got an excuse, even if only for a day, and an extra train ticket, entry fee and several extra hours of sleep are the only forfeits. The train pulls in to Utrecht Centraal 15 minutes short of midday.

An hour later and I’ve only just made it into the fair, despite it being located less than a 10 minute walk from the station. After queuing for a ticket the mission was on to find a cash point of which there are only two in the foyer, both with a line snaking across the entire floor. There were more back in the station but incredibly all but one of them are out of action. Ticket in hand I finally get through the barrier, past a group of cosplayers in full Stormtrooper garb (that’s new) and begin the daunting task of picking through what seems like the carefully chosen debris of the 20th Century.

overview-record-fair-utrecht-april-2015-8To say that Jaarbeurs is big is an understatement that is so woefully inadequate it’s like saying Jeremy Corbyn has a bit of a job on his hands if he hopes to become the next Prime Minister. It is SO big that you reel as you find yet another aircraft hanger-sized space crammed with even more ephemera than the last one you just spent over an hour briskly jostling through. What I never realised, way back when I first visited the fair, was that the record part only accounts for roughly a third of the overall space in Jaarbeurs, the rest is packed with Europe’s largest vintage collector stalls selling virtually anything you can bring to mind.

IMG_6680Buttons, stamps, coins, vintage toys, new toys, animal bones, African statues, globes, stones, medical research statues, school teaching displays, stained glass windows, lamps, turntables, gramophones, books, magazines, comics, glassware, pottery, jewelry, badges, dolls, clothes, material, masks, cutlery, posters…

IMG_6687 IMG_6685 IMG_6684
The place is like the most incredible museum you’ve ever been to coupled with the fact that you can buy every exhibit in what resembles the continent’s biggest car boot sale. Imagine Birmingham’s N.E.C. and quadruple it. Another misconception is that it’s all expensive, this isn’t true either, yes there are trophy pieces everywhere, bought by dealers the world over in the hope that they will sell to their biggest captive audience and pay for the trip. But equally there are boxes of cheaper stuff marked at €1 that simply need to be rifled through to find the gold.


It is however, completely unrealistic to expect to be able to ‘do’ the whole thing even in a weekend let alone an afternoon. I’d decided I was going to go through the other halls before I hit the records as I’d previously walked straight past them and never investigated. Now older and with more than enough vinyl to warrant having the floor of my home studio reinforced because of it I decided to explore the other two thirds I’d previously dismissed.
It was slim pickings until the third hall, mostly for the fact that I was limited by what I could carry so had to bear in mind that those 20th century designer lamps were just going to have to stay there. Deeper into the throng and nearer to the record stalls that shore up the far end of the layout I started to find pieces to take home. A clutch of hardback bande dessinée of Philippe Druillet‘s best 70s work from a French seller, a Metal Hurlant special on the making of Alien, complete with multiple examples of designs by Giger, Moebius, Ron Cobb and Ridley Scott himself.
Two handfuls of vintage sci-fi paperbacks with Richard Powers covers from the delightfully named Magic Galaxies Intergalactic Book recycling Company. The bemused Dutch seller inquired what my criteria for buying was after watching me check every cover rather than just the spines of the books. IMG_6706
Just before closing time I chanced upon Grant McKinnon from the West Coast peddling original psychedelic posters and flyers from the 60s Haight Asbury heyday and was caught up in a last minute whirlwind of bartering for a handful of genuine 60s bills bearing the work of Rick Griffin, Wes Wilson and Victor Moscoso.
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Check them out on the web, SF Rock Posters, no fakes, reasonable prices considering the vintage and top guys to boot. As the security guards were ushering the crowds out I spotted the only record I bought during my visit on the next table, a luminous yellow 7″ promo of ‘Pocket Calculator’ by Kraftwerk complete with printed transparent sleeve. Well, I couldn’t go all that way and not buy a single piece of vinyl could I?

(Delta freight train photo by Chris Vos, taken from the Chrome Angelz Facebook group)

Rodina ‘Drumside / Dreamside’

This album is gorgeous, two sides split between drums and dreams by JJ Whitefield of the Poets of Rhythm, Whitefield Brothers etc and Johannes Schleiermacher. This is a big departure from that sound though as the German roots of Krautrock and ambient music shine through. The Drum side charts similar territory to that trodden by The Heliocentrics, Natural Yoghurt Band or Chop but at a glacial pace, drums and guitars dripping with electronic FX. The Dream side is stone cold pure ambient bliss, in the best traditions of Tangerine Dream, Cluster and Popul Vuh, totally organic-sounding and calming. Both sides were the result of a 2 day studio lock in and enough vintage studio tech and substance abuse to keep anyone happy. I’m glad Now Again unlocked the door and let this beauty out – listen to the Drumside (although I rate the Dreamside even more) and buy vinyl, CD or DL.

Here’s also a 71 minute mix of German Space-Rock Classics they just put up on Soundcloud.

Flexibition #47: DiMDJ / Cleon ‘Machinations’ box set

Acid, on a 7 inch? Flexi disc? In a box set? From Greece? Only 50 copies? Not something you find every day but I’m happy to confirm that such a delight exists. Not only do you get a clear 7″ flexi featuring 2 tracks but you also receive a CDr of same with two additional tracks plus stickers and a badge. All in a numbered, reassuringly Kraftwerk Computer World-esque yellow box.


Released on Record Store Day 2013, I ran across this upon finding DiMDJ‘s track Kraftwork Radio’ on Soundcloud which uses samples from the ‘Radio Activity’ album. It’s included here (although sadly not on the flexi) on this split release with Cleon on Kinetik Records who have been operating from Thessaloniki for over 20 years now. All tracks are Acid in style, were apparently recorded live and you can still order copies online via their Bandcamp page for just €15. It appears that I have #3 of 50!


Speaking of Acid, the I Love Acid crew have a new(ish) bi-weekly radio show on Sub FM every second Thursday and I’ll be doing a mix for them shortly. If you’re reading this before 12 midday GMT then you can catch today’s show live here. Or if you want to listen to old shows then they have them archived on Mixcloud too.

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KLF night with John Higgs at the Cube, Bristol

Bank of Mu front v.2This Sunday at The Cube microplex in Bristol there will be a very special event centered around The KLF and their burning of a million pounds over 20 years ago. EntitledKLF : Chaos, Magic and the band who burned a million pounds, the night takes its name from John Higgs‘ recent book and he’ll be talking about Discordianism, Doctor Who, ‘The Illuminatus! Trilogy’, Alan Moore’s Idea Space, the number 23 and more amidst talks, screenings, loops and rituals in The Black Room. More info here, tickets are limited.
Cube KLF bannerI was asked to provide some sort of musical accompaniment but this weekend’s gig schedule means I’d never make it back to the gig in time unfortunately. Instead I’ve fashioned this fictitious One Million Mu note for them to ‘do what thou wilt’ with. Click each note for a larger version and see how many easter eggs I’ve put into them – whoever spots them all wins something interesting.

Bank of Mu back v.2

Journeys By DJs

Those merry pranksters Cheeba and Moneyshot have a new, irregular ‘thing’ – Journeys By DJs – inane in-car chat in transit to and from gigs. This is a peek into the world of the superstar DJ, touching on all the exciting things we like to talk about in the run up to the big gig you’ve been looking forward to for weeks. You’ll learn about Anal Caravan, what DJs eat on the road and thrill to the latest news of that Serato update last week. Looking forward to catching up with Cheeba on Dec 4th at the Videocrash Rich Mix gig in London for our AV night with Robin Hexstatic and Tom Central.


New 45 Live label and radio show

45L7001 A cut

The 45 Live crew notch things up a gear with the first release on their own label and a new bi-weekly radio show. Boca 45 takes the first release slot with a double whammy of ‘Soul On Top’ / ‘Diego’s Theme’. Listen and buy a copy here. Over in LA, 45 Live member Greg Belson has set up a radio show on Dublab that will air on the first and third Friday’s of each month and feature a guest mix from one of the 45 Live roster on each show.

45 Live Roster

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Review: ‘The Delaware Road’ – South St. Arts Centre, Reading

DelawareRd_DollyDollyDeparting South London on a rainy Saturday evening we travelled to Reading for the launch of Buried Treasure‘s new compilation, ‘The Delaware Road’, at the South Street Arts Centre. Bumping into Jonny Trunk at the parking meter was fortunate as we’d run out of change and, after a battle with an unruly £1 coin which refused to stay inside the machine, we entered the packed room. Promised a night of radiophonics, tape loops, vintage synths and spoken word we braced ourselves for an eight band line up held together by a narrative from Dolly Dolly. Seated at a table under angle poise lamp to one side of the stage for the entirety of the gig and looking for all the world like a broadcast announcer of old he was a revelation, holding the audience captive between acts as the night and story unfolded. Written by Dolly aka David Yates and label manager Alan Gubby, the tale of The Delaware Road is loosely based on two members (‘the man’ and ‘the woman’) of a sound studio reminiscent of the Radiophonic Workshop. The clues are all there, the BBC being referred to as ‘the corporation’, and the tale includes shades of The Stone Tape Theory, the occult, the swinging 60s, orgies and demonic powers released through sound recorded on cooper wire.

DelawareRd_12HrFoundationThe evening was an ambitious production including visuals, smoke and lighting to compliment the soundscapes for the three hour duration. Proceeding chronologically from the late 60s through to the 80s, each act soundtracked the period in time perfectly, kicking off with Robin the Fog‘s Howlround project of tape loops strung around mic stands, mirroring the early tape experiments of the Workshop. The Twelve Hour Foundation duo tickled us with synth-heavy ditties redolent of the many radio and TV themes produced for the BBC by John Baker and repopularized by the likes of The Advisory Circle today.

DelawareRd_IanHelliwellIan Helliwell‘s set up consisted of a small pub table crammed with small boxes (i’m sure I saw an alarm clock too) which throbbed and pulsed with all manner of devilish tones as he bent sine waves out of shape, accompanied by his own amazing animations. As the narrative moved into the swinging sixties it was the perfect moment for The Dandelion Set’s first public performance, oil wheels revolving and Op-art shirts waving. Despite a technical hitch with the Moog during the first track, a setback which had the crowd cheering once fixed, they didn’t let it phase them and ran through several tracks from their forthcoming album, ‘A Thousand Strands‘.

DelawareRd_DandelionSetAlan Gubby’s own band, the unpronounceable Revbjelde, produced a stunning set with bow scraped cymbal, metal percussion and lute, unleashing a Wickerman-esque medieval suite for the releasing of spirits. Loose Capacitor paid thrilling homage to the golden age of TV, climaxing with the joyous ‘Theme From Robin’s Nest’ which had part of the crowd clapping along whilst Tim Hill’s sax and FX pedal set up changed musical tack again. Each performer bought a new dimension to the story as images of vintage synths, solarised landscapes, 70s Britain, Morris dances and electronic components were projected overhead. A compilation of seventies celebrities flashed by to the glam beat of ‘The Shag’ by Trouble & StrifeBasil Brush, David Essex, Keith Chegwin – ending in Gary Glitter and Jimmy Saville to the collective gasp of the audience.

DelawareRd_LooseCapacitorAs the night and narrative wound to a close we entered the eighties of ‘suits’, buttons replacing dials and microchips on the ends of fingers with Robin Lee‘s synths perfectly capturing the cheesy ‘business funk’ of many library albums of the era. Finishing with a second set from Revbjelde, this time accompanied by Tim Hill, the band closed with a storming rendition of ‘Tidworth Drum’ from the new compilation to huge applause and a heartfelt thanks from Alan, surprised at such a turnout for such an esoteric event. It was presented with such love and care that it felt like a family occasion where the label had found a common ground amongst its roster – so far a mix of reissues and original material – that pointed the way forward. All in all a genuinely unique night with many unknown names now firmly lodged in the subconscious, seek out the compilation and keep an eye on the Buried Treasure label, still not even up to their tenth release.

Flexibition #46: Incarnate ‘Decay – Eternal Opuscule #100′

Post Contemporary was/is the home of The Legion of Green Men out of Toronto, Canada – Alexander “Lex” Addicus and Rupert “Ru” J. Lloyd, who also recorded under many other aliases for the label. We did several gigs with them back in the good old 90s and they gave me a copy of this at one of them. The group frequently included ‘lock grooves’ at the end of their records, a technique where the cutting engineer makes the final groove on the record into a continuous one rather than the spiral the rest of the disc plays through thus endlessly locking the needle into a repeat cycle. To get a rhythmic lock groove that repeats cleanly rather than jumping as the needle turns a full rotation the tempo needs to be 133 1/3bpm (or divisions thereof) when played at 33rpm (180bpm at 45 vinyl fans).

At the end of the track on this disc, ‘Decay’, they put their one hundreth lock groove – or ‘eternal opuscule’ as they called them with the idea that the low quality flexi would slowly wear if left playing and thus slowly change the sound. The concept also extended to the sleeve material too which was printed on photo-sensitive blueprints that would also decay if left in sunlight – see below for their full explanation from the sleeve and insert.Flex46_Decayback Flex46_Decay letter
Here’s the audio – the ‘eternal opuscule’ (or loop to you and me) starts around the 2.30 min mark. Earlier this year, after releases on Post Contemporary had ceased in 2007, a new 2xCD 20th anniversary version of the Legion of Green Men‘s ‘Spatial Specific’ album suddenly arrived. The original was released in 1994 on Ritchie Hawtin‘s Plus 8 Records and the new ‘Redux’ has many more tracks and ‘eternal opuscules’ as well as a transparent overlay that produces moire effects when rotated with the inner artwork.


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Freaky Formats at the Vinyl Factory: 3D sleeves

Various 'A Psyche For Sore Eyes' webI’m pleased to announce that I’ve collaborated with the good people at The Vinyl Factory for a monthly look through the weirder reaches of my record collection. After the short film on flexi discs they made this summer we’ve got together to produce an irregular look at the weird & wonderful world on vinyl and the myriad forms of pressings and packaging it can come in, dug directly from my collection. The first post just went live and focuses on 3D sleeves, photographer Michael Wilkin shot the sleeves.

New music

It’s hard to keep up with all the new music out there at the best of times so here’s a quick round up of some things that I’m really liking at the moment.

Floating Points ‘Elaenia’ album
Just a great late night jazz album, deep, dark, dreamy. You’ll have read about this one in the press, believe the hype.

House of Black Lanterns You Were Telling Me Of Mountains’ (Bandcamp)
Long time coming album from Dylan Richards aka King Cannibal – synth soundtrack stylings rich with Carpenter, Vangelis and Tangerine Dream influences as well as more contemporary beats.


The Comet Is Coming ‘Prophecy’ EP (Leaf)
Sax-heavy cosmic space jazz – Sun Ra meets Can

Jacco Gardner ‘Hypnophonic’ (Polyvinyl)
Well late on this one, glad I picked it up though, great singer, beautiful off-kilter arrangements

Black Channels ‘Two Knocks For Yes’ (Castles In Space cassette)
The spookiest mixtape you’ll hear this year with extra B side instrumentals, proper Hauntology.

2 knocks cassette

Eagles of Death Metal ‘Zipper Down’ album
You know what these guys do, unashamed, straight up Rock n Roll. The reason I love them so much is because of things like the video below. Just skip the Duran Duran cover version though.

Black Devil Disco Club ‘H Friend Dance Remixes’ (Alter K)
Many, many remixes of ‘H Friend’ from the original Black Devil EP – head for the Andy Weatherall, Turzi or Loframes ones first.

Den Sorte Skole ‘Indians & Cowboys’
I can’t describe this album, it encompasses so many styles but the basis is collage, I’d call it ‘sampledelia’.


Various Artists The Delaware Road’ CD compilation (Buried Treasure)
A radiophonic, tape collage, jazz and a million other things journey through an illusory soundtrack

The Dandelion Set ‘A Thousands Strands’ (forthcoming LP on Buried Treasure)
Another one long in the making, after several digital releases the Set finally pull an album together of new and old material and cajole none other than Alan Moore to voice one of their sonic looks back in time to a summer rich with the simplicities of childhood.

Dandelion Set.jpg_large

Ollie Teeba ‘Short Order’ LP (World Expo)
Teeba takes his time but serves up a 10 track banger of all styles Hip Hop for the mature B-Boy.

Annabel (lee) ‘By the Sea.. and other solitary places’ LP (If Music / Ninja Tune)
Still one of the best releases this year, a unique record that mixes female vocals with tarnished soundtrack and string samples, torch song jazz with the patina of time etched all over it. Could have been made anytime in the last 50 years.


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Calibro 35 ‘S.P.A.C.E.’ album

S P A C E - Calibro 35
Really liking this album by Italian group Calibro 35 – a real mix of analogue space-scapes, spy soundtrack stylings, funky psychness and more. Think early Harmonic 33 with bits of Pepe Deluxe referencing all the greats like Schifrin, Morricone, Zappa and more.

The space theme only really plays over about half the record despite the titles, at least half of them could be soundtracking The Impress File or Mission Impossible – regardless it’s excellent. They kick off a tour to support the album (their 5th) next week which finds its way to the UK in February 2016 and the album is available on vinyl from their website.

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