Wrapping up #VinylDay2017

Posted in Features on July 26th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Grooves and platters galore. My motivation behind doing Vinyl Day 2017 was simple: I felt like listening to records and sharing that process. It was kind of an off-the-cuff thing. Just an idea I had and ran with it. I figure it doesn’t need to be anything more than that, right? Isn’t putting on an album its own excuse for putting on an album? I tend to think so.

And yeah, I made it a hashtag. Because it’s the future, and hashtags. Instagrammaphone and whatnot. I’m a novice at best when it comes to the social medias, but it seems to me that if you’re going to share a full day’s worth of what you’re listening to, that’s the way to do it. So that’s what I did. If I clogged up your feed or whatever and it pissed you off, sorry.

For anyone who might’ve missed it, it turned out to be nine records of various sorts. Here they are, complete with accompanying audio when I could get it, because it’s the age of instant gratification:

There you have it. Had to be Sleep to end it. Pretty awesome day of music on the whole, and whatever was on your playlist yesterday, if it was this stuff or anything else, I hope you enjoyed. I’m gonna call Vinyl Day 2017 a definite win. Thanks for reading.

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Quarterly Review: Loss, BardSpec, Sinner Sinners, Cavra, Black Tremor & Sea Witch, Supersonic Blues, Masterhand, Green Lung, Benthic Realm, Lâmina

Posted in Reviews on July 11th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

quarterly-review-summer-2017

Day two of the Quarterly Review and all is chugging along. I was on the road for part of the day yesterday and will be again today, so there’s some chaos underlying what I’m sure on the surface seems like an outwardly smooth process — ha. — but yeah, things are moving forward. Today is a good mix of stuff, which makes getting through it somewhat easier on my end, as opposed to trying to find 50 different ways to say “riffy,” so I hope you take the time to sample some audio as you make your way through, to get a feel for where these bands are coming from. A couple highlights of the week in here, as always. We go.

Quarterly Review #11-20:

Loss, Horizonless

loss horizonless

Horizonless (on Profound Lore) marks a welcome if excruciating return from Nashville death-doomers Loss, who debuted six years ago with 2011’s Despond (review here) and who, much to their credit, waste no time in making up for their absence with 64 soul-crushing minutes across nine slabs of hyperbole-ready atmospheric misery. The longer, rumble-caked, slow-motion lumbering of “The Joy of all Who Sorrow,” “All Grows on Tears,” “Naught,” the title-track and closer “When Death is All” (which boasts guests spots from Leviathan’s Wrest, Dark Castle’s Stevie Floyd and producer Billy Anderson) are companioned by shorter ambient works like the creepy horror soundtrack “I.O.” and the hum of “Moved Beyond Murder,” but the deeper it goes, the more Horizonless lives up to its name in creating a sense of unremitting, skyline-engulfing darkness. That doesn’t mean it’s without an emotional center. As Loss demonstrate throughout, there’s nothing that escapes their consumptive scope, and as they shift through the organ-laced “The End Steps Forth,” “Horizonless,” “Banishment” and the long-fading wash of the finale, the album seems as much about eating its own heart as yours. A process both gorgeous and brutal.

Loss on Thee Facebooks

Profound Lore Records website

 

BardSpec, Hydrogen

bardspec hydrogen

It’s only fair to call Hydrogen an experimentalist work, but don’t necessarily take that to mean that Enslaved guitarist Ivar Bjørnson doesn’t have an overarching vision for what his BardSpec project is. With contributions along the way from Today is the Day’s Steve Austin and former Trinacria compatriot Iver Sandøy (also Manngard), Bjørnson crafts extended pieces of ambient guitar and electronica-infused beats on works like “Fire Tongue” and the thumping “Salt,” resulting in two kinds of interwoven progressive otherworldlinesses not so much battling it out as exploring the spaces around each other. Hydrogen veers toward the hypnotic even through the more manic-churning bonus track “Teeth,” but from the psych-dance transience of “Bone” (video posted here) to the unfolding wash of “Gamma,” BardSpec is engaged in creating its own aesthetic that’s not only apart from what Bjørnson is most known for in Enslaved, but apart even from its influences in modern atmospherics and classic, electronics-infused prog.

BardSpec on Thee Facebooks

ByNorse Music website

 

Sinner Sinners, Optimism Disorder

There’s a current of rawer punk running beneath Sinner Sinners’ songwriting – or on the surface of it if you happen to be listening to “California” or “Outsider” or “Hate Yourself” or “Preachers,” etc. – but especially when the L.A. outfit draw back on the push a bit, their Last Hurrah Records and Cadavra Records full-length Optimism Disorder bears the hallmarks of Rancho de la Luna, the studio where it was recorded. To wit, the core duo of Steve and Sam Thill lead the way through the Queens of the Stone Age-style drive of opener “Last Drop” (video posted here), “Desperation Saved Me (Out of Desperation)” and though finale “Celexa Blues” is more aggressive, its tones and overall hue, particularly in the context of the bounce of “Together We Stand” and “Too Much to Dream” earlier, still have that desert-heavy aspect working for them. It’s a line that Sinner Sinners don’t so much straddle as crash through and stomp all over, but I’m not sure Optimism Disorder would work any other way.

Sinner Sinners on Thee Facebooks

Sinner Sinners on Bandcamp

Last Hurrah Records website

 

Cavra, Cavra

cavra cavra

The five-song/52-minute self-titled debut from Argentina trio Cavra was first offered digitally name-your-price-style late in 2016 and picked up subsequently by South American Sludge. There’s little reason to wonder why. Comprised of guitarist/vocalist Cristian Kocak, bassist/vocalist Fernando Caminal and drummer Matias Gallipoli, the Buenos Aires three-piece place themselves squarely in the sphere of their home country’s rich heritage in heavy rock and psychedelic fluidity, with earthy tones, a resounding spaciousness in longer cuts like the all-15-minutes-plus “2010,” “Montaña” and “Torquemada.” My mind went immediately to early and mid-period Los Natas as a reference point for how the vocals cut through the density of “Montaña,” but even as Cavra show punkier and more straightforward thrust on the shorter “Dos Soles” (4:10) and “Librianna” (2:45) – the latter also carrying a marked grunge feel – they seem to keep one foot in lysergism. Perhaps less settled than it wants to be in its quiet parts, Cavra’s Cavra nonetheless reaches out with a tonal warmth and organic approach that mark a welcome arrival.

Cavra on Thee Facebooks

South American Sludge Records on Thee Facebooks

 

Black Tremor & Sea Witch, Split

black-tremor-sea-witch-split

One has to wonder if whichever of the involved parties – be it the two acts or either of the labels, Sunmask Records or Hypnotic Dirge – had in mind a land-and-sea kind of pairing in putting together Saskatoon’s Black Tremor or Nova Scotia’s Sea Witch for this split release, because that’s basically where they wound up. Black Tremor, who issued their debut EP in 2016’s Impending (review here), answer the post-Earth vibes with more bass/drums/cello instrumental exploration on the two-part “Hexus,” while the massive tonality of duo Sea Witch answers back – though not literally; they’re also instrumental – with three cuts, “Green Tide,” “As the Crow Flies Part One” and “As the Crow Flies Part Two.” The two outfits have plenty in common atmospherically, but where Black Tremor seem to seek open spaces in their sound, Sea Witch prefer lung-crushing heft, and, well, there isn’t really a wrong answer to that question. Two distinct intentions complementing each other in fluidity and a mood that goes from grim and contemplative to deathly and bleak.

Black Tremor on Thee Facebooks

Sea Witch on Thee Facebooks

Hypnotic Dirge Records webstore

Sunmask Records webstore

 

Supersonic Blues, Supersonic Blues Theme b/w Curses on My Soul

supersonic-blues-supersonic-blues-theme

It takes Den Haag trio Supersonic Blues no more than eight minutes to bust out one of 2017’s best short releases in their Who Can You Trust? Records debut single, Supersonic Blues Theme b/w Curses on My Soul. Yes, I mean it. The young three-piece of guitarist Timothy, bassist Gianni and drummer Lennart absolutely nail a classic boogie-rock vibe on the two-tracker, and from the gotta-hear low end that starts “Curses on My Soul,” the unabashed hook of “Supersonic Blues Theme” and the blown-out garage vocals that top both, the two-tracker demonstrates clearly not only that there’s still life to be had in heavy ‘70s loyalism when brought to bear with the right kind of energy, but that Supersonic Blues are on it like fuzz on tone. Killer feel all the way and shows an exceeding amount of potential for a full-length that one can only hope won’t follow too far behind. Bonus points for recording with Guy Tavares at Motorwolf. Hopefully they do the same when it comes time for the LP.

Supersonic Blues on Thee Facebooks

Who Can You Trust? Records webstore

 

Masterhand, Mind Drifter

masterhand-mind-drifter

A neo-psych trio from Oklahoma City, Masterhand seem like the kind of group who might at a moment’s notice pack their gear and go join the legions of freaks tripping out on the West Coast. Can’t imagine they wouldn’t find welcome among that I-see-colors-everywhere underground set – at least if their debut long-player, Mind Drifter, is anything to go by. Fuzz like Fuzz, acid like Uncle, and a quick, raw energy that underlies and propels the proceedings through quick tracks like “Fear Monger” and “Lucifer’s Dream” – tense bass and drums behind more languid wah and surf guitar before a return to full-on fuzz – yeah, they make a solid grab for upstart imprint King Volume Records, which has gotten behind Mind Drifter for a cassette issue. There’s some growing to do, but the psych-garage feel of “Chocolate Cake” is right on, “Heavy Feels” is a party, and when they want, they make even quick cuts like “Paranoia Destroyer” feel expansive. That, along with the rest of the release, bodes remarkably well.

Masterhand on Thee Facebooks

King Volume Records webstore

 

Green Lung, Green Man Rising

green-lung-green-man-rising

Groove-rolling four-piece Green Lung boast former members of Oak and Tomb King, among others, and Green Man Rising, their first digital single, is the means by which they make their entry into London’s crowded underground sphere. Aside from the apparent nod to Type O Negative in the title – and the plenty of more-than-apparent nod in guitarist Scott Masson’s riffing – “Green Man Rising” and “Freak on a Peak” bask in post-Church of Misery blown-out cymbals from drummer Matt Wiseman, corresponding tones, while also engaging a sense of space via rich low end from bassist Andrew Cave and the echoing vocals of Tom Killingbeck. There’s an aesthetic identity taking shape in part around nature worship, and a burgeoning melodicism that one imagines will do likewise more over time, but they’ve got stonerly hooks in the spirit of Acrimony working in their favor and in a million years that’s never going to be a bad place to start. Cool vibe; makes it easy to look forward to more from them.

Green Lung on Thee Facebooks

Green Lung on Bandcamp

 

Benthic Realm, Benthic Realm

benthic-realm-benthic-realm

In 2016, Massachusetts-based doom metallers Second Grave issued one of the best debut albums of the year in their long-awaited Blacken the Sky (review here)… and then, quite literally days later, unexpectedly called it quits. It was like a cruel joke, teasing their potential and then cutting it short of full realization. The self-titled debut EP from Benthic Realm, which features Second Grave guitarist/vocalist Krista van Guilder (also ex-Warhorse) and bassist Maureen Murphy alongside drummer Brian Banfield (The Scimitar), would seem to continue the mission of that prior outfit if perhaps in an even more metallic direction, drawing back on some of Second Grave’s lumber in favor of a mid-paced thrust while holding firm to the melodic sensibility that worked so well across Blacken the Sky’s span. For those familiar with Second Grave, Benthic Realm is faster, not as dark, and perhaps somewhat less given to outward sonic extremity, but it’s worth remembering that “Awakening,” “Don’t Fall in Line” and “Where Serpents Dwell” are just an introduction and that van Guilder and Murphy might go on a completely different direction over the longer term after going back to square one as they do here.

Benthic Realm website

Benthic Realm on Bandcamp

 

Lâmina, Lilith

lamina-lilith

Smack dab in the middle of Lilith, the debut album from Lisbon-based doom/heavy rockers Lâmina, sits the 20-minute aberration “Maze.” It’s a curious track in a curious place on the record, surrounded by the chugging “Evil Rising” and bass-led rocker bounce of “Psychodevil,” but though it’s almost a full-length unto itself (at least an EP), Lâmina make the most of its extended and largely linear course, building on the tonal weight already shown in the earlier “Cold Blood” and “Big Black Angel” and setting up the tension of “Education for Death” and the nine-minute semi-title-track finale “In the Warmth of Lilith,” which feels a world away from the modern stonerism of “Psychodevil” in its slower and thoroughly doomed rollout. There’s a subtle play of scope happening across Lilith, drawn together by post-grunge tonal clarity and vocal melodies, and Lâmina establish themselves as potentially able to pursue any number of paths going forward from here. If they can correspondingly develop the penchant for songwriting they already show in these cuts as well, all the better.

Lâmina on Thee Facebooks

Lâmina on Bandcamp

 

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Sinner Sinners Post “Last Drop” Video; Optimism Disorder out March 7

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 26th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

sinner sinners

The punkish underpinnings of Sinner Sinners can certainly speak for themselves without help from the likes of me, and as regards the Los Angeles-based duo-plus and their new video for “Last Drop,” the boozy heavy rock swing of the track comes through with likewise clarity. They’re not hiding it. They are, however, clearly in denial about their problematic drinking, though that doesn’t seem to have impaired their songcraft any, since “Last Drop” is nothing if not tight in its structural execution and crisp in the delivery of its verses and choruses.

Founded by Steve Thill and Sam Thill, Sinner Sinners have their roots in the Netherlands and France, and there’s maybe some of that European commercial heavy rock possibility to what they do as well — the idea that pop and heavy rock aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive, one represented by a vapid mainstream, the other by an unrecognized underground. That notion, brought together with the sunshine of the American West Coast — not this week, but generally — and the already-noted root influences, gives “Last Drop” a personality of its own to coincide with its classic aspects, which are basically writ large across this track.

I haven’t heard the full album as yet, but they set a pretty high standard here. More info (including preorders for vinyl) follows the clip below.

Please enjoy:

Sinner Sinners, “Last Drop” official video

Listen to “Last Drop” the first single out of our new album “Optimism Disorder”!

The LP was recorded at Rancho De La Luna in Joshua Tree, California (mostly known for giving birth to the Desert Sessions and recording artists such as Queens of the Stone Age, Iggy Pop, Kyuss, Arctic Monkeys), assorted Los Angeles hide-outs, and engineered in Clermont-Ferrand France. Optimism Disorder was produced by Adam Greenspan (Refused, INVSN, Maximo Park) and Thomas Bellier (Spindrift, Blaak Heat), mixed by Pascal Mondaz in France, and mastered by Simon Capony at @Basalte Studio. The album also features additional engineering by Nic Jodoin (Black Rebel Motorcycle Club) and Jon Russo. Last but very not least, vocalist/guitarist Jesse Hughes of rock n‘ roll groundbreakers Eagles Of Death Metal makes his mark on Optimism Disorder via flute contributions. Video by Jettho (Jeremy Thomas).

Optimism Disorder is available for iTunes pre-order (including instant download for 2 tracks, “Last Drop” and “Hate Yourself”) here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/optimism-disorder/id1189385985.

Optimism Disorder will hit stores on March 7, 2017 via Cadavra Records in North America in digital and CD formats. In addition, Optimism Disorder will also be available on limited edition, colored 12-inch vinyl via Last Hurrah Records in North America. Visit www.lasthurrahrecords.com to order your vinyl copy. European fans can order their vinyl via Left Front Door Records here: http://leftfrontdoorrecords.bigcartel.com.

Sinner Sinners is:
Steve Thill (Vocals / Guitar)
Sam Thill (Vocals / Keys)

with Macy Mullen (Lead guitar), Michael Amster (Drums), Mike McCrary (bass) and Ben Palmer (Rhythm guitar)

Sinner Sinners on Thee Facebooks

Sinner Sinners on Twitter

Sinner Sinners website

Last Hurrah Records website

Left Front Door Records webstore

Cadavra Records website

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New the earthlings? LP Mudda Fudda Available to Preorder

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 21st, 2015 by JJ Koczan

Would seem that earthlings? have added a “the” since their last time out, but considering their last full-length Human Beans, was released in 2000, they’ve had plenty of time to do so. Their new long-player is titled Mudda Fudda and will be pressed in an edition of 500 copies by Last Hurrah Records, which specializes in things of limited and vinyl nature, and somehow if you play your cards right you can get a copy that glows in the dark. That’s what I’m talking about.

If you’re unfamiliar with the desert-weirdness of the earthlings?, no time like the present to get introduced. LP preorder info follows:

Mudda Fudda is the earthlings? new limited edition, full-length vinyl LP on Last Hurrah Records. The earthlings?’s third studio album, Mudda Fudda combines desert rock sensibilities, outer space adventure and modern psychedelics to create a hybrid wave-length that pulsates with excitement. For this intercosmic endeavor, The earthlings? are co-piloted by musical luminaries David Catching (Eagles of Death Metal, Mojave Lords) and Pete Stahl (Goatsnake, Scream) under the star-filled sky over Rancho De La Luna in Joshua Tree, California. Other passengers onboard include drummer Adam Maples, the band’s trusty timekeeper, along with a slew of high plains cohorts including Fred Drake, Matthias Schneeberger, Molly McGuire, Brant Bjork, Gene Trautman, Barrett Martin, Franz Stahl and Josh Homme.

The Mudda Fudda jacket features artwork by Dirk Bonsma and a highlighted UV Gloss layer. The record itself comes in two outer space vinyl configurations: Nova and Nebula colors. The run is limited to 500 copies (250 of each color).

Ordering 2 records ensures that you will receive one record of each color.

The “Glow-In-The-Dark Set” includes both Nebula and Nova colored vinyl records plus a 3rd Glow-In-The-Dark record! There are 100 of these sets. There is a special button below for ordering the “Glow-In-The-Dark Set”. All domestic orders are sent media mail with delivery confirmation while International orders are sent airmail.

The Mudda Fudda jacket has UV spot gloss highlights while the record itself comes in two outer space vinyl configurations: Nova and Nebula, both a blend of opaque and translucent colors in addition to haze and splatter mixtures for out-of-this-world visual effects, limited to 500 copies (250 of each color).

Mudda Side
1. Intro (There is Hope)
2. Waterhead
3. Forgotten Memories
4. Individual Sky Cruiser Theory
5. Disconnected
6. Accordingly

Fudda Side
1. Punk Ass Fuck
2. Standby Exciter
3. Mardi Gras
4. Stoner Rock Rules
5. Zazoom
6. Gentle Grace

http://www.lasthurrahrecords.com/earthlings-preorder.html
https://www.facebook.com/earthlings-126518660260/
http://www.earthlingsinfo.com/

earthlings?, “Triumphant March of the Buffons”

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Mojave Lords Debut LP Unfuckwithable Available to Preorder

Posted in Whathaveyou on September 3rd, 2014 by JJ Koczan

In case you were wondering, yes, desert rock can still come from the desert. Spearheaded by guitarist Dave Catching and featuring vocalist Bingo RicheyMojave Lords will issue their debut LP, the aspirationally-titled Unfuckwithable, on Last Hurrah Records before the end of the year, all limited vinyl and whatnot. The list of guests showing up on said long-player reads like a who’s who of CA desert players, and if the couple tracks that have made their way to the public are anything to go by, the album is worth further investigation.

So, uh, I’ll get on that, I guess. Will be particularly interested to hear what Chris Goss brings to the mix, he and Catching having contributed together to Queens of the Stone Age over the years, as well as worked together in Goss‘ band, the perpetually underrated Masters of Reality.

The PR wire tells it like so:

Mojave Lords 12-inch UNFUCKWITHABLE full-length LP

Unfuckwithable is the Mojave Lords new limited edition, full-length vinyl LP on Last Hurrah Records. Born in Joshua Tree, California at Rancho De La Luna recording studio, the Mojave Lords is the brain-child of musical mastermind David Catching and his next door neighbor, the equally brilliant Bingo Richey. After years of working in the music industry on other people’s projects, they decided to team up, strap themselves in to a homemade rocket and press the launch button.

If you took the stone out of early Queens of the Stone Age and mashed it up with the boogie metal of Eagles of Death Metal you get the ruckus and rancor of the Mojave Lords. Dust-laden and seeped in dark nights of desert plains, Unfuckwithable is a heavy rock romp and stomp. With some help from their friends; Brian “Big Hands” O’Connor, Barrett Martin, Chris Goss, Joey “The Sexy Mexi” Castillo and Danny Frankel, they’ve made what the New York Times is calling “Dark, sexy rock & roll for a brave new race.” This is the next wave of Desert Stoner Rock. This is mature, smart and visceral. This is UNFUCKWITHABLE.

Eye-popping embossed skull and band logo jacket cover along with UV gloss explosion, along with flamboyant inner sleeve with lyrics and diamond eye labels. The record comes in two vinyl configurations: desert fire and bone marrow, both created by a mix of oqaque and translucent colors, limited to 350 copies (175 of each color).

Prepared for vinyl by J. Yuenger.

Side A
1. Sweet Little Down & Out
2. Hot Throwaway
3. Anytime Rock
4. Dancefloor Slammer
5. Second Skin

Side B
1. Knuckles
2. Microwave Me Baby
3. A Whole New World
4. Sage
5. Unfuckwithable

http://lasthurrahrecords.com/mojavelords-preorder.html
http://www.mojavelords.com/
https://www.facebook.com/MOJAVELORDS
https://twitter.com/MojaveLords

Mojave Lords, “Unfuckwithable”

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Truckfighters’ The Chairman Special Edition EP Available to Preorder; Band on Tour in Europe

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 3rd, 2013 by JJ Koczan

Attention fuzzdudes and fuzzladies: The new Truckfighters EP is available to pre-order. If you’re having trouble receiving this message, then check your fuzztenna. Repeat: TruckfightersThe Chairman EP can now be pre-ordered in a special edition through Last Hurrah Records — who, it should be noted, have also gone suitably all out in the packaging, what with the 12″ 45RPM vinyl and the variations on the colors with mixtures of opaque and transluscent. I’m not sure what the difference between “Desert Sunset” and “Desert Sunrise” might be, but I don’t mind the excuse to pick up an extra copy and find out.

Truckfighters are on tour in Europe now — dates below — and the EP is limited to 500 copies in the Last Hurrah edition. Check it out:

Pre-orders are now available for the Truckfighters The Chairman Special Edition EP multi-colored vinyl 12-inch. Sweden’s Truckfighters blaze an incendiary trail through high desert plains and mountains of stoner rock. Presented at 45 RPM for best possible sound quality, The Chairman Special Edition contains over 30 minutes of power “fuzz” and features the title track plus three live songs recorded on tour in Australia earlier this year.

The jacket cover artwork has spot UV gloss, spot PMS, and silver metallic ink designed by artist Lindsey Kuhn.

The 12-inch vinyl comes in two different vinyl colors: Desert Sunset and Desert Sunrise, each a mix of oqaque and translucent colors, limited to 500 copies (250 of each color).

Pre-order available here and should start shipping on October 31.

In the meantime, while you are waiting for the record to arrive, check out the video for the title track “The Chairman” below…

Truckfighters European Tour Dates
02.10.13, [DE] LEIPZIG – UT Connewitz
03.10.13, [DE] ASCHAFFENBURG – Colos Saal
04.10.13, [DE] Dortmund – FZW (Visions Westend Festival)
05.10.13, [CH] Pratteln – Z7 (Up In Smoke Festival)
07.10.13, [FR] Nantes – Le Ferraeulier
08.10.13, [LX] Luxembourg – Rock Box
09.10.13, [NL] Rotterdam – Baroeg
10.10.13, [BE] Antwerp – Trix
11.10.13, [NL] Groningen – Vera
12.10.13, [DE] Siegen – Vortex
13.10.13, [DE] Karlsruhe – Alte Hackerei
15.10.13, [AT] Innsbruck – PMK
16.10.13, [IT ] Milan – Lo-Fi Club
17.10.13, [IT ] Bolzano – Point
18.10.13, [AT] Linz – Stattwerkstatt
19.10.13, [DE] Munich – Feierwerk
20.10.13, [DE] Bremen – Römer

Truckfighters, “The Chairman” official video

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