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Not Part of Your Scene Music Newsletter Archive

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10/13/2016 Edition

Welcome from out here in the Neon Necropolis.A word on live music.

This year has been madness for me. Life has been fine. But the amount of live music I’ve watched has been more than ever before. And I’ve always found a way to get out to the crappy dive bar or concert venue, but this year I took it to a new level.

This live music kick, which was planned, has also affected the way I’ve listened to music this year. I’ve been a new music guy, I’ve been a remember the past music guy, I’ve been a playlist guy. For the most part the only stuff I’ve listened to this year has been the bands I’m going to see live. My listening has mostly centered around the playlists I’ve created of set lists I can find online. There’s a good and bad about that, but that’s for a different post.

Going forward I’ll have to find a happy medium between listening to new music, old music and getting familiar with the performances I plan to see live.

I’ve started posting #livelistens on twitter (@chrissarda). These tweets are essentially going to be notes for the essays I’ll never write. I do spend a lot of time listening to music, so I may as well tweet about it.

We evolve and the way we consume music and art evolves. We need to go with the flow.

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A Beginner in Drone and Ambient

I’m a subscriber to a record label’s subscription service. To be exact it’s called a Jamscription and the record label is Beyond Beyond is Beyond. The music is that jam band psychedelic drug stuff. It doesn’t get too crazy. There are a surprising amount of 4 minute songs released on BBiB, for a label that focuses on psyche rock.

A release that didn’t fall into that 4 minute mold in my 2015 Jamscription, was an album by a band called Ancient Ocean by the name of Blood Moon. At the time I was annoyed. Why would they send me a piece of vinyl of boring drone music? It felt like a waste of vinyl and waste of my money. After the first listen, the record got put away and never listened to again, until now, while I write this.

While it still feels like a stretch to pay $15+ for an ambient or drone album, I have made a turn on my opinion of the genre. I can narrow it down to reading and subscribing to Warren Ellis’ newsletter where he recommends a lot of drone, ambient and field recording pieces on bandcamp.

I’ve enjoyed this genre mostly while reading and writing. But I’ve found the long tracks, the particular noise and some of weird field recording tracks to be engaging. Not in the way that a good metal or hip hop song is engaging, I’m interested in more of an abstract way, which allows me to keep working.

I don’t want to be the guy to define the differences between noise, drone and ambient (and the field recording that can be used any of those three genres to varying degrees). What I will do is link to some of the articles I’ve been using to discover what my tastes are in the genre.

First up is the aforementioned Warren Ellis. You can see his collection on bandcamp and this will give you a feel for ambient, drone and many artists who use field recordings.

The website A Closer Listen, has a very cool list of Top Ten Field Recording & Soundscape recordings from 2015. Getting my feet wet with this list should help me go in all sorts of dire

Invisible Oranges is a metal blog I listen too, but here are their recommendations for some noise compositions.  These will tend to be pretty harsh and the noise genre has many of its own sub-genres.

Pitchfork doesn’t just give bad reviews to indie rock and pop rap, here is their 2015 list for experimental music. This list contains drone, ambient, field recordings, light noise. It also comes with mini write ups that you might want to read before choosing what to listen to.

Here’s a best ever list of ambient music from Factmag. Some of this music isn’t reflective of what ambient music is today but any list with Brian Eno on it is a good list. He might be the godfather of modern ambient music.

At this point in my drone/ambient/experimental journey I’m not too interested in buying anything so this list from Make Use Of gives a whole bunch of free bandcamp recordings, if we fall in love with them then we can throw some dolla bills at the composers.

I’m still working out how I see the genre and the individual albums. What makes something from this group of genres memorable? What constitutes a good track or album? When is it bad? How should I listen to the music? Headphones? Stereo System? The car?

I don’t know the answer to any of these questions yet. I’ve enjoyed just about everything I’ve listened to, some stands out and I’ll start recommending that stuff.

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A great in depth read about .clipping bitch

I’m still parsing and thinking about their new album Splendor & Misery. Pitchfork of course had a negative reviewready to go just hours after it was released.

A good Wyclef John interview at Pigeons and Planes.

An obituary for a director you never heard of but will want to look up after you read this.

Fun stuff. According to this Stereogum article, Tom DeLonge of Blink 182 fame talked to John Podesta about UFOs in recently leaked emails. Here’s an in depth interview in Papermag from last year where Tom talks about his belief in extraterrestrials.

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CONCERT CALENDAR

Lots of interesting stuff coming up. Stuff that should be coming through your town soon. One of the big tours making its way across the country is Prophets of Rage, the hip hop/hard rock super group that consists of the members of Rage Against the Machine sans Zach De La Rocha and Chuck D from Public Enemy and B Real from Cypress sharing vocal duties.

A part of me is more excited for this than I would be if Rage Against the Machine were touring together. Chuck D and B Real are actual MCs and I’ll get to hear versions of Public Enemy songs and Cypress Hill songs done with Tom Morello’s weird guitar as record scratching style.

On Saturday I take a drive to Los Angeles to see Danny Brown perform all his old fan favorites and then work in some of that new crazy beat stuff he just release with Atrocity Exhibition. Danny Brown has a unique style in everything he does, his beats are well thought out, he lyrics are clever and though a lot of it sounds like drug and party music there’s always that layer sadness hovering below the party beat.

Maxo Kream and Bruiser Brigade teammate Zelooperz are opening for Danny Brown, both very worthy rappers to open for the man.

The loose plan is to come back from LA that night, get some sleep, run some errands and then hit Schoolboy Q and Joey Bada$$ here in Vegas at the Brooklyn Bowl. Both of these guys are pretty good, at least what I’ve picked and heard, so seeing their live performances should be a good time.

The week after is Opeth, Sleeping Beauty (the ballet), Bad Religion and Rasputina. Hopefully I have time to write about those bands in the coming days.

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Get out of here, that’s all the content for you!

Follow me on twitter @chrissarda

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10/04/2015 Edition
Hello from out here in the Neon Necropolis

A word on recommending.One shouldn’t ask “what kind of music is it?” when being introduced to something new. It’s an honest question but it can lead you down the “critique before you listen” path. Much like wine, coffee and beer, music to my ears will taste different to yours.

There are situations where you are recommending new music. In a personal situation, recommendations should not be given as if you are trying to educate your friend. A lot of people switch into “we know good music and you don’t” mode, even we don’t want to come off that way.

My goal is always to find out what my friend thinks about a song. All recommendations should be a personal interaction. I should have a feel for the person’s tastes so I’m not going to recommend metal to a hip hop head. I also try to stay away from “Did you like it?”/ “Did you hate it”.

I’m looking for the personal interaction, that’s what I want in art. That’s what the artist is doing with me. The difference is artist to consumer is a one way tunnel. But friend to friend is two ways.

To many reviewers write and talk about music as if an album’s value is on a static scale that only they see clearly. On that subject, critic to fan, there’s a whole lot more to talk to about.

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Seminal vs Good vs Doesn’t Hold Up

I’m not bitter. I’m not huge fan of The Cavalera Conspiracy or Sepultura or that Roots album honestly. I may have still gone to their scheduled show if Allegaeon didn’t also cancel here in Las Vegas. The tour is still on and you should go if you’re into it.My group of metal head friends all have different opinions on Roots and the Cavelera brothers.. Especially Max, who famously doesn’t play with all of the strings on his guitar. So if you don’t know, Roots is a controversial album, not because of its content but because of what it’s influenced and if it has even influenced anything.

I was going because  they were playing Roots in full and my attitude was why not, for the most part in my re-listens I did not enjoy it. It didn’t really hold up and it wasn’t an album I was ever really into.

But I was still going in part because they were playing the album in full.

A friend said it best, he called it “more seminal than good” and I thought that was a fair statement. But should it matter that something is seminal if it’s not good? Is music like watching a 50s NBA game where you can respect the game for it’s time but the skill doesn’t compare to what we have now?

If Roots came out today it wouldn’t be an important album. I don’t think that form of music would be different if it hadn’t came out. The scene has passed it by. Today Roots sounds like a bad Slipknot album with tribal elements. At the time of its release it could have been mistaken for cool, but as it turns out all it ever did was pave the way for all the annoying things that are happening in metal today.

There is a place for experiencing history. There is good reason to be a spectator when something like Roots is being revisited 20 years after it’s release. If they didn’t get hurt and cancel, I’d have listened to how tight they play the record today. I’d want to compare the songs from Roots to any other Cavalera Conspiracy songs they might play. I would have looked to see if the album had a different feel in a live setting. I would hope to see live instruments for the Brazilian rhythm sections of the songs. I have interest in seeing how they handle “Lookaway” as song that had parts sung by Jonathan Davis and Mike Patton. There were good reasons to go see them live.

There’s a place to see any album performed live, even one more seminal than the good.

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Conor Oberst Phase II
Conor Oberst has changed since 2004. He doesn’t look like an emo kid. He has the scruffy tortured soul look, like a James Blunt for Xanax users. He is still short. This tour he has decided to work in the violin/fiddle into every song, well he’s been doing that for years. His guitar player was wearing a pant suit. This made me think she was lesbian, which is probably what I shouldn’t think. It didn’t matter before I knew she was good at her instrument and it didn’t matter afterwards.

Oh yeah, she was good at her instrument. Conor held the riffs down and allowed Ms. Mccormick to get creative.

The crowd was small. Smaller than  expected. Not sure why Conor Oberst doesn’t have a big following in Las Vegas. Despite it’s size it was a passionate crowd. A couple guys in front wanted to make clear they knew every lyric, including from the new album Ruminations which only started streaming a few days ago.

They were big fans.

Conor Oberst is a hard guy for me to put my finger on. I’m not sure he is that tortured soul he looks like on stage. It’s not an act. He’s a great song writer. He clearly needs to stick to the raining window he’s looking through at the world when writing music. Maybe that’s gotten him stuck. Maybe the songs about drinking, the early unfortunate comparison to Bob Dylan and his song writing style has just gotten him stuck.

Conor Oberst’s demeanor says he could end it all any minute, by end it all I mean either his career or his life. I don’t think that happens, I’m just saying that’s his demeanor. Mr. Oberst sees the world in a certain way and these songs, whether they’re folky, emo rock,electronic pop are his abstract paintings of it.

Like many of his fans, so animated as they singing his lyrics, hoping for some recognition from their hero of verse, I’m also touched by his writing.

Sunrise, Sunset and the rest of Fever & Mirrors was a long time ago and though Conor Oberst has had time to have some filler albums and songs, I’ve enjoyed the journey from emotional rock god, to folk rock king, right into what I’ve dubbed the: “fuck you for calling me the new Bob Dylan and now that gets mentioned every goddamn time” hybrid period.

The “Fuck you for calling me the new Bob Dylan…” hybrid period iswhere he get to explore his past writing and know his fan base will stick around for his new writing. It is a good spot for him. If you had a following in the early 2000s and you’re still writing and still have fans, you’re well into the phase II of your career.

Phase II, loosely, is now you have your fans, now you can see your career path, and a good amount of what you’ve done and how you’ve done it is public. We know who you are no matter how much you’ve changed, ask Alanis Morisette.

I’ll continue to listen and watch Conor paint these pictures. I’ll scoff at his fans acting a little too emotional to the songs and realize I’m acting that way too, just not dancing to the beat.

Even when the song is upbeat. Even when he sings about coping, or one of a hundred ways to get through the day: it’s always a view through a window in the rain.

That’s Conor Oberst’s role.

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Reading About Music

Aesop Rock Interview – Over at Passion Weiss among other things Aesop talks about rappers whose lines have stayed with him. He cites bars from Eric Sermon, Tame, Redman.Life is Beautiful Announced Next Year’s Date Already – Next year September 22-24. Hopefully the lineup is little better next year. I couldn’t justify the price tag for the bands that were playing, especially when believing the Radiohead rumor that was running around here.

Kanye Demos Leaked – I’m not even sure if these are good enough to listen to, but they are probably from the Yeezus so therefore they are relevant to me.

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Let’s call it a day here.

  • Seminal is different from good, but you should still go experience it
  • Conor Oberst is in phase II.
  • We should all reevaluate how we recommend music to friends.
Until next time.

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09/21/2016 Edition
I guess this newsletter and it’s sister blog has a weird name. If you like different kinds of music you can probably see generally where I’m going with the name. We don’t dress up. We don’t look like  hip hop, metal or anything else fan. Not Part of Your Scene is just about the music and keeping an open mind to all of it.
Allegaeon Stood Me Up

Allegaeon was supposed to come to Vegas in support of the Cavalera Conspiracy but because Iggor hurt himself that for some reason means Allegaeon couldn’t make here either.

I had this plan to write a sort of glossary of terms and phrases found in some of their music. The research was pretty fun, reading about dyson spheres, genetics and Tartessos. But it became too big of a project for the news letter. It might be something to put on the blog in the future.

Good news if you’re not in Vegas, Allegaeon is still on tour playing their brand of geek metal.

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Churchill’s Pub Foray
Wherever you go, wherever you visit, always try to find the areas best punk rock bar. There are a few clues to what constitutes a good punk rock bar, these things aren’t necessary but they can help you with picking one out of a crowd. Number one it’s in a shitty neighborhood, not on the main douchey tourist street, 2) there is no cover or a very small cover. 3) you don’t know the bands that are playing because it’s mostly local crazy shit. 4) it doesn’t only play punk rock. 5) It let’s you drink outside in some fashion.

I was in Miami on a Labor Day vacation and I did all the good husband stuff. I went to all the popular beaches, I walked around the tourist shops in South Beach, I drank girly cocktail at a tourist trap restaurant, I got a hotel room with a beach view (partial beach view, there’s still a little punk rock in me).

For me though the thing I like to do is find the dive punk rock bar in town. Here in Vegas we have a few that might qualify but the Double Down Saloon is the prototype I use. So my mission was to find the Double Down of Miami and I found it at a place called Churchill’s Pub.

The place was disgusting, just like it should be. Only problem was this time my wife wanted to spend time with me and so she followed. We got lucky because Churchill’s was doing their 37th anniversary blowout thing so I got to see a lot of what Miami had to offer. We apparently came in on the psyche jam rock section. The standouts were a band called the Vicerois and the Swamp Rats.

The Vicerois are new but the drummer was a passionate percussionist and you can find his other work here in a band called the Grey 8s. The Swamp Rats were a dirty south washboard, acoustic guitar playing mess. They played in an ugly room in the back of the building that I didn’t even realize was there until after being at the venue for 2 hours.

Dumpy, a dive, punk, what is your city’s Churchhill’s or Double Down?

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I’ll just leave this here for now and try to get another newsletter out soon.

Chris Sarda
NPOYS

 

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09/01/2016 Edition

The world of music only gets larger. The list of music to listen to and albums and can’t miss live performances bloats every year. Ranking is a terrible way to consider works of art that can mean so many different things at so many different points in time to so many different people. But this ranking can’t be avoided when time is a factor in how we appreciate culture.

Here we are today though. This is what I’m doing and thinking about today and no matter what it will be incomplete. We have to look at all the things we want to do and then parse through them keeping in mind resources are limited to experience all of this humanity: time, money, education and a hundred other things relegate us to never having a complete fill of all of this humanity.

We must enjoy humanity within limits.

Welcome to a music newsletter. Forever incomplete.
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Explosions in the Sky (not) Live

There are times where you get legitimately excited about a seeing a band live. If you write a music newsletter and you research and write about the band it makes you that much more excited.

Then life will sometimes get in the way. In my case it was fatigue and not feeling like driving and dealing with the Las Vegas strip. As many of you would assume, locals don’t like the strip. Some do everything they can to avoid it, I don’t mind it too much but it can be a drag when the neon lights are a part of life and people from Battle Creek Michigan are trying to stare at them through their car window.

Explosions in the Sky was the band I missed because fatigue is wry bitch. There were a few reasons I wanted to see them in a live setting. First, my reading about the band implied they played a very live set in contrast to the recorded songs which I found to be nice and light with only a few difficult parts. Second, this is the first instrumental band in the tradition of Mogwai and Godspeed (I don’t count Animals as Leaders in that mix) that I both would see live and have familiarity with the music. I wanted to see what I recognized and I wanted to experience the pieces I did and didn’t know mix together and form a plethora of notes and noise.

Maybe even see some improvisation.

Explosions in the Sky will just have to stay on the want list. I catch them eventually and get to feel the feels that should be felt.

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David Allan Coe: Nothing to See Here

I wanted to have something about David Allan Coe. I wanted to talk about the live show I just saw him in, I wanted to write about racism in the context of music today, I wanted to crucify and defend him, I wanted to relate to Phil Anselmo’s recent issues, I wanted to talk about DAC playing Dimebag’s guitar, I want to talk about watching legendary and influential artists at the end of their career, I want to talk about DAC’s personal issues, his wife, his son Tyler, country music hipsters, older people at small venues. The whole shebang.

There is just so goddamn much I need to research and I need a little more time and to decide on what the meat of the essay or essays will be.

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Music Writing

Right now I’m just churning out simple ideas but my plans for this newsletter is to get some legitimate writing happening for all the stuff that’s happening and touring in music today, especially stuff that comes through Vegas.

I’m not sure what path this newsletter will take or what path my writing will take but I have a lot planned. Some of it will live here and some of it will live on the Not Part of Your Scene blog. Long form stuff might be better there and maybe early versions and parts will end up here. For the most part what I want to write about is ideas and culture, and these ideas should manifest during listens to all this music I experience.

There are few ideas out there in the area of literary theory and general philosophy that I’d love to work in if for no other reason to learn about literary theory, philosophy and within the context of the music.

The only time I feel right is when I write. So thanks for taking this walk with me.

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Concert Calendar
09/08 Wayne Hancock,Whiskey Breath, The Unwieldies @ The Dive Bar
Wayne Hancock is a beast. He’s a newby that sounds like and oldie and that’s a good thing. I’m not old enough to have been able to hear Hank Williams rasp through songs and that’s exactly what Wayne Hancock does. This playlist gives a good idea of what he plays live and includes his last album which is what turned me on to him.
09/09 Bayside, The Menzingers,Sorority Noise
Here are the questions I’m asking about Bayside. How have the lyrics changed from their early 2004-5 work to now? Did they get more adult? Are they still sad? Did losing their drummer to a fatal car crash affect their style? What kind of fan do they have in 2016? Can someone be that sad about a girl? Can someone be so sad about a girl they don’t write songs about anything else? Were they writing those songs because they were part of a scene or because they were heartfelt?
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8/17/2016 Edition

This is the first iteration of a music newsletter I plan to write weekly. We’ll see how it evolves over time but for the moment I’ll be focusing on performers who are on tour and who I’ll likely watch live. I’m not a huge fan of reviews, but I do love good music writing. That’s what I hope to give you here.

The writing you will find this newsletter won’t look to be critical (but sometimes it will be). We’ll be trying to understand the artists, they’re performance and their music. We’ll be talking about how they influence our thoughts and emotions through the sounds they make. And we’ll make sure to recommend new stuff, old stuff, moderately aged stuff and any stuff that belongs in your ears.

THE PEARS AND DIRECT HIT! ON TOUR

Punk rock has world and life of its own. It’s gone passed the phase that hip hop is currently in. It’s here to stay and it’s going to continue to be loud fast and hard. The difference is that punk’s sound has no interest evolving. In fact when it tries to evolve it just morphs into a new kind of music. Is Against Me punk? I think so, but the music and other bands with similar styles have become their own genres.

Then the there are the Pears and Direct Hit!, who aren’t doing anything so new that you’d use the term “ground breaking”. They’re punk bands: touring, writing great songs and being about as “punk” as any punk band ever was throughout the 80s and 90s.

This Youtube playlist of both their music videos [https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLIjJ-Qt1U7g4tiNxLiqIIJeeBOz67cq_a] should give you an idea of the punk rock madness you’re getting yourself into. Here is a Google Music playlist [https://play.google.com/music/playlist/AMaBXymyBecC91obkhF_KnhInmsWxfNjkrUA25Ld71SrGwnC7rkVDdEUD2hWgz5xXUORiAbE_ck6A_XHXvxDOZgUkLzv3BeMZg==] that includes Las Vegas local punk rockers Hard Pipe Hitters. Pears tour dates can be found here [http://www.bandsintown.com/Pears].

The Concert Calendar

8/18/16 The Pears @ the Beauty Bar

The Pears are a hardcore punk band from New Orleans. It seems as though they’ve been touring non-stop for 2 years now. I’ve seen them twice in Vegas in that time and missed them twice in Vegas in that time. The live show is the kind of entertaining that doesn’t need props and doesn’t have a ton of audience participation just solid memorable playing and singer whose charisma comes out when he’s on stage.

8/18/16 Direct Hit! @ the Beauty Bar

I’m excited to see Direct Hit for the first time touring along with the Pears. They got some when they released a punk rock concept album concept album a few years back called Brainless God, they’ve since signed to Fat Wreck Chords. They are a solid punk band with catchy pop punk songs along with pieces that have a more screaming hardcore bent. It’s a good mix of sounds and the songs they play live from Brainless God are fun weird listens when listened to out of context.

8/18/16 Hard Pipe Hitters @ the Beauty Bar

This is local punk band I have not been able to see live yet. They end up on a lot of playlists of mine because they’ve been on a lot of the punk shows I had plans to go to but I either missed the shows all together or got there too late for the openers. The Hard Pipe Hitters are heavy, fast and intense. Those characteristics are exactly what you want from an opener at a punk rock show.

8/18/16 Rayner @ the Beauty Bar

Rayner is another local punk band that doesn’t have an incredibly original sound (but it’s punk rock, can it be new sounding without it becoming something else?) but Dany, who I assume is the song writer, does write some decent lyrics and the song structures are simple but very conducive to his writing style. Rayner still needs to find itself. Dany’s vocals don’t have a ton confidence yet and the mix wasn’t great. I’m excited to see how the songs translate live and even more excited for them to release a new album in the next year or two.

8/21/16 David Allan Coe @ the Las Vegas Country Saloon

David Allan Coe is quite a character. I’m not sure where he fits in the world. It’s easy to call him outlaw country. But some of his career choices have been suspect and some of them have been incredible, see Rebel vs Rebel recorded before Dimebag Darrell was murdered, I guess that’s what you get when an artists mindset is to actually be a rebellious outlaw. He may be the only country artist where that word outlaw isn’t a cliche, but the honest to goodness best word to describe him.

8/21/16 Slipknot @ the T-Mobile Arena

This show is the same night as David Allan Coe so I won’t be going to it. It is worth a mention because the venue changed when the concert date changed. Slipknot and Marilyn Manson are now playing at the T-Mobile arena, the large brand new arena that will hold Las Vegas’ soon to be named hockey team. I’ve seen Slipknot many times and Marilyn Manson would be fun, just not as fun as David Allan Coe.

That is it for the first newsletter. Just trying to get my feet wet and get to writing whatever I feel like without thinking about how a blog post should be designed.

Next week we’ll get into some instrumental space rock sounds, report on news that piques my interest and about whatever else I feel like writing out.

Until then: Happy listening.

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