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Thread: Big Music Talk, with Raymond Terrific

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    Road Warrior Markatansky is on a distinguished road Markatansky's Avatar
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    Angry Big Music Talk, with Raymond Terrific

    This'll probably feel more like a blog than a forum post but I thought I'd share it anyway.

    [rant="Amazing Music"]

    You know what really grinds my gears? People who rave about "amazing" bands and songs when said bands and songs have done nothing of note worthy of them being given that label. Call me a music snob if you will, but I personally feel that music should popular because it's good not good because it's popular. I recently argued about this with a friend (a more or less dickish friend that pesters and annoys me at every opportunity, I really don't know why we are friends at all really) after he'd posted on facebook about the line-up at T in the Park. I replied to it with "Congratulations capitalism. There's one awesome band there." - I was referring to Airbourne, whoare batshit insane live and in it for their fans. Admittedly, when I made that remark, I had not noticed a couple of not-so-bad bands (Madness and The Prodigy to be precise; they each have some enjoyable songs). Of course he had but one option: the "personal opinion" card that everyone plays. "Music is based on personal opinion" he says. "Good music is based on talent" I says. "No, good music is based on talent too" he says. Now I didn't know how to come back to that at that time, but after a few days I had a brain wave - I didn't post it though, I thought there was no point going back since it would just look like i was clutching at straws. But anyway, I came to the realisation that the wankerchief was wrong. Good music is not based on opinion, enjoyable music is. Good music still relies on talent, and the appreciation of more than a single generation of listeners.

    To me, I feel that for a song to be truly great, each area of the song must be a masterpiece in it's own right and it must be appreciated by different generations of listener. As an example, I'm going to use Judas Priest's Locked In and Underdog by You Me At Six. Ignoring the fact that I personally feel that love and relationships are such a cliched basis for songs to be written about in today's mainstream music industry, I've picked these two songs because that's what they're more or less about. Now when I look at each area of these songs (the vocals, drumming, guitar work and bass playing) I see a great contrast. You have Rob Halford's incredible voice coupled with Josh Franceschi more or less talking to a beat with a mediocre vocal talent. You have Glenn Tipton and Ken Downing powering into the strings with intense solos coupled with Max Helyer and Chris Miller playing the same note three times before switching to another note to be played in triplicate (occasionally breaking that monotony during the chorus). You have Judas Priest's drummer (the name of which I am at a loss to find, Wikipedia indicates that the drummer has changed often) keeping a good rhythym (although such songs as Painkiller and Ram It Down have much more impressive displays of brutal drumstick barrages, not to mention Ram It Down having a bloody awesome solo) coupled with Dan Flint hitting the same two drums for about ten seconds before switching to a generic drum beat at the chorus. Why should I even listen to a band whose members play instruments with as much finesse as I do, let alone consider them "amazing"?

    See I've noticed that songs that are played with more impressive musical proficiency tend to last longer. Judas Priest have been around since the New Wave of British Heavy Metal and still have a huge fanbase that has now carried over a few generations - yet bands like You Me At Six tend to stay within the boundest of the generation within which it was conceived. I've often thought that bands like them only became popular because somebody liked it for whatever reason (however plausible or implausible that may sound) and eventually it spread and spread until eventually the music industry became trapped within a prison of capitalism and peer pressure where people (mainly those my age at around 19/20) are force fed new "amazing"/"stunning"/"essential" albums - by Joe Bloggs and the Mediocres, Planet Earth's next top cash cows - and only listen to it and like it because they believe their friends will and do too - imagine a circle of sheep all following the one in front of them forever - until it's reached the point where they've just brainwashed themselves into thinking that they like it to fit in with their friends. But that's just a theory.

    The point I'm trying to make is that the music industry should be just like any other job - it shouldn't be easy and you shouldn't do it if you're not good at it. Why should I spend my hard earned money on the albums and live performances of a band that are as good as playing an instrument as I am? If people want to waste their money on mediocre bands churned out by the music ndustry then let them, I'll save my money on the bands and musicians that know how to entertain a crowd. You may think my comparison between Judas Priest and You Me At Six was biased and unfair (or you may not care less), but it had to be done to get my point across. Put it this way, why should I spend my money on Twilight when Dracula has been around much longer and does the whole vampire thing much better?

    [/rant]

    That felt good.
    Last edited by Markatansky; 16-07-2010 at 20:39.
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  2. #2
    Chief, innit MarkuzR has much to be proud of MarkuzR has much to be proud of MarkuzR has much to be proud of MarkuzR has much to be proud of MarkuzR has much to be proud of MarkuzR has much to be proud of MarkuzR has much to be proud of MarkuzR has much to be proud of MarkuzR has much to be proud of MarkuzR's Avatar
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    You're always going to get that though, because taste is subjective. I mean... take Yngwie J Malmsteen... from a technical point of view he's pretty much flawless, but he's only good at what he does. Take him out of his comfort zone and he's about as good on the guitar as I am. He may be able to arpeggio the shit out of classical music and mimic the classics to the point where you are somewhat dumbstruck but if you ask him to jam along to some jazz or blues and he'll be fucked. In terms of songwriting, he's also not that great but he has huge respect in the industry because he was sold on his technical prowess alone. The antithesis of Malmsteen would be John Petrucci... almost overlooked in Dream Theater because of the sheer brute force of Portnoy's talents and Rudess' keyboard wizardry... and if you stopped the average rocker on the street to ask "You ever heard of Yngwie J Malmsteen or John Petrucci?" most would have heard of Malmsteen but very few of Petrucci. In terms of musicianship, I'd say they were both as clean and technically proficient as each other but Petrucci is the better writer, and more adaptable as a musician - he can turn his hand to blues, jazz, bluegrass, classical guitar and even a bit of electro pop if need be. The sad fact of the matter is, however, that people tend to base their own opinions on what's socially acceptable or is out there in the collective consciousness.

    The drummer on Judas Priest's "Ram It Down" tour was Scott Travis and was a phenomenal drummer. Sure, he's no Portnoy... but who is? Peart, maybe. When they brought out Painkiller I remember thinking "wow.... 32s on the double bass... impressive!!" because, to my recollection, nobody else had done anything as fast to that point... not even Dave Lombardo during his stint with Slayer. These days, however, 32s on the double bass isn't really much to write home about but he was there at the beginning. Same with Halford... he may not be the greatest singer but he's damn good and has a lot of character. I always found that the guitarists are what let Priest down... Tipton and Downing were never really that great but they got away with it because of the overall talent of the band. Same with Danzig... Glenn himself is arguably the least talented person in any band he's ever been in... but without him there would be no band. People forget things like that though. Easily.

    Think back to the number of years in a row that Kirk Hammett was voted "Best Guitarist" in Kerrang, Metal Hammer and Raw... the same years that James Hetfield was voted "Best Vocalist" and Lars Ulrich "Best Drummer"... oh gosh... look... there's Jason Newsted in there as "Best Bassist" too!! People are intrinsically thick and fucking mindless. Metallica may have churned out some bitching songs and some kick arse albums... but as individual musicians they're all utter shit. I have no idea what they sound like now because I've not listened to them since the Black album, but I'm a better drummer today than Ulrich was back then... I was a better guitarist even back then than Hammett or Hetfield were... and yet they topped every readers poll. Insanity. BUT... that's the collective consciousness that we all see around us every day. People will always look to what's popular at the time and proclaim them as being the best thing since sliced bread. People like blood sausage. People are morons.

    One day society will break free from the mental chains created by hype. When that happens a lot of musicians, authors, actors, athletes, footballers etc will end up miserable and skint. I'll be the one at the back wearing the "I fucking told you so all along" t-shirt with a smug grin and a stiffy.

    Tell you what though dood... had an awesome time talking music with you!!
    Oooooooh it's an invisible signature... oooooooooh!!
    "If you want me to 'act professional', I can tell you that I'm not interested. I'm sitting in my home office wearing a bathrobe. The same way I'm not going to start wearing ties, I'm *also* not going to buy into the fake politeness, the lying, the office politics and backstabbing, the passive aggressiveness, and the buzzwords. Because THAT is what 'acting professionally' results in: people resort to all kinds of really nasty things because they are forced to act out their normal urges in unnatural ways."
    Linus Torvalds

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    Road Warrior Markatansky is on a distinguished road Markatansky's Avatar
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    I mean don't get me wrong, this whole hype-based society has probably been the driving force for the popularity of a lot of bands such as Metallica and Judas Priest like you mentioned, but when you consider that both of those bands are still popular many generations after they first became so, that strikes me as a good sign that it's because they do (or did) in fact have talent and because the music they created was as brilliant and enjoyable as it still is now (maybe not so much for Metallica's post-Black efforts depending on how you feel about it, although I've not heard anything from St. Anger). Admittedly however, it may just be the case that hype still pumps through their metaphorical veins and keeps them in the public consciousness.

    It's a shame that these "mental chains" keep the masses from appreciating the wealth of incredible musicians and bands that shaped and defined generations past. I can say quite confidently that at least 80%+ of my generation, and of those generations younger than my own, will not know any songs by Black Sabbath, Motorhead, Whitesnake, Ted Nugent and their like - which is a real shame, because if there's one thing that really brings people together, it's music. Yet some friends don't like my music, and I don't like theirs so that bond of musical brotherhood isn't there - and quite frankly, why should I join them and listen to noises generated for currency and cliche when they can just as easily join me and listen to songs that were forged with the fusion of instrument and raw passion?

    Mark, on the day that society breaks free of those chains, I too shall join you in the proud wearing of that same t-shirt, in the proud wearing of that smug grin and in the proud bearing of that raging weapon of mass conception.

    And I had an awesome time talking music too.
    Last edited by Markatansky; 16-07-2010 at 21:35.
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    When it comes to music, I always feel weird criticising other people's music considering that I listen to so much, and even I'll admit a lot of it isn't amazing. But it comes down to personal enjoyment from the music, and I find myself listening to a band more if I enjoy it, rather than if its amazingly talented, though their talent will obviously help me to like them more.

    The thing is though, when it comes to music, my tastes very rarely reach outside of the 90s or 00s. Nearly all of the music I listen to apart from a very select few amount of bands (Beatles, Queen) is firmly within the decades I've lived in, and I don't see so much of a problem with that, though a lot of other people probably will. I have weird reasons for not liking bands, and the reasons I may not like one band may be the exact reason I like another. I'll openly admit a lot of my music tastes don't make sense, but I never really mind because I'm enjoying my own music tastes, and I appreciate when other people try to get me onto other bands, and I'll normally try to repay the favour.

    I openly don't like a lot of modern mainstream stuff, but not because its popular, but because a lot of it is just hollow and empty, and vacant of a lot of actual talent. I don't find pop interesting for the same fact I don't find most rap interesting anymore, or R'n'B, or Dance/Techno music. Because it has an ability to stagnate far more than rock music does. It may just be me, but I can get a lot of milage out of similarly sounding rock bands, but I can't stand similarly sounding pop acts.
    When it comes to rock and metal, I only don't like a few genres, I hate Indie (because it all sounds exactly the same, is empty, hollow, and reeks of talentness) and Thrash (I get that its technically superb and musically skilled, but all thrash just doesn't process in my head for some reason), but then I love so many weird other things that it never really matters to me anymore.

    Also, sometimes, its not worth saying that one person is a standout member of the group, because a lot of music is the culimation of a lot of people's work. The Beatles, for example, are hard to argue that each part is the most amazing thing technically or in terms of skill, but it all comes together to sound amazing. Some bands do have one or two members to carry them, and its normally a shame when that happens, because it then sounds like everyone else in the bands' efforts aren't worth the time, unless they genuinely are and they're wasting their time in the band.
    I actually forget where I was going with this, sorry!
    I love music discussions, but I'll openly concede a lot of it because I can't play worth a damn, and I don't get caught up in the whole technical or skill aspect as much as other people, only in rare cases (such as my opinion that while Dream Theatre and Dragonforce are massively skilled at their instruments, they're at a point where its hard for them to progress in skill, so their output begins to sound the same as every other song they make, and if they try changing genres, then everyone will complain). I also don't like bands that turn political halfway through their careers (something about it massively fucks me off) or bands who deliberately make an album that sounds totally different to prove a point (Ie, Bullet for my Valentine and Trivium both making albums deliberatley trying to sound thrashy and like metallica because people claimed they weren't real metal because they were metalcore, or something equally shit), with a few exceptions in each case.

  5. #5
    Chief, innit MarkuzR has much to be proud of MarkuzR has much to be proud of MarkuzR has much to be proud of MarkuzR has much to be proud of MarkuzR has much to be proud of MarkuzR has much to be proud of MarkuzR has much to be proud of MarkuzR has much to be proud of MarkuzR has much to be proud of MarkuzR's Avatar
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    I can almost get what you mean but, as we've discussed before, Dream Theater are doing the opposite... the more they progress, the less technical their music becomes. If you compare the musicianship on When Dream and Day Unite (1989) and Images and Words (1992) to their more recent releases... they're actually simplifying the music considerably, also taking out what made them great in the first place (melody and hooks) and just making things a little easier on themselves. Musically speaking, their pinnacle was probably Scenes From A Memory (1999) and although Octavarium was a great album overall... they were taking too much of an influence from Muse on a lot of their tracks and it made them overly commercial and less impressive musically. The title track, Octavarium, is classic Dream Theater though. Each Dream Theater album has, unfortunately, taken quite a different style to the previous too so there's never been a time where any two albums have sounded the same as any other song they've made and I can say this with 100% conviction because of my background as a musician where I can pick out even a specific three note progression from a song and tell you where it's been used elsewhere... even last week Lorna was listening to Poets Of The Fall and I stopped her, had her take it back, played the first part of whatever song it was again and then dragged her through to my office to let her hear Black Sabbath's "War Pigs" because the notes that the singer was singing were the same as War Pigs. Not the same key, or the same actual progression, but the same notes just jumbled around... like if you'd taken them as individual Scrabble pieces and created a musical anagram. It's a curse of being a musician that, first and foremost, you dissect everything you hear before you actually listen to it as a punter. So I have to disagree with you entirely on that one as I WISH Dream Theater still had the stylings of Images And Words and sounded remotely like they used to... but their problem is that they evolve TOO much every time.
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    "If you want me to 'act professional', I can tell you that I'm not interested. I'm sitting in my home office wearing a bathrobe. The same way I'm not going to start wearing ties, I'm *also* not going to buy into the fake politeness, the lying, the office politics and backstabbing, the passive aggressiveness, and the buzzwords. Because THAT is what 'acting professionally' results in: people resort to all kinds of really nasty things because they are forced to act out their normal urges in unnatural ways."
    Linus Torvalds

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    Banned The Preacher will become famous soon enough The Preacher's Avatar
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    I listen to classical music, or bands like Genesis... skill with an instrument, technical proficiency, coupled with genuine artistic vision... I'm pretty demanding. But even then I have the same problem as Mark has with Dream Theater... Genesis got progressively more simple, with shorter tracks, more electronic drums than actual instruments, and they went shit. Seems to be a thing with progressive rock. They seem to forget what made them awesome and start chasing mainstream acceptance and album sales at the expense of being any bloody good. There's always one or two good tracks still on each record, a brief throw-back to when they were good, but they get lost in all the shit that fills the rest of the album.

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    Admittedly, I only have Images and Words, Octavarium, Systematic Chaos and Black Clouds and Silver Linings, so I wouldn't be able to compare with the other albums you mentioned.
    I'll happily concede that point to you, and I'll make a mental note to try and remember not to claim that about Dream Theatre. I may still about Dragonforce.

    Though, two things made me laugh about Dream Theatre at Download last year.
    1. The Keyboardist having a fish keytar and 'duelling' with Petrucci.
    2. The lead singer fucking offstage for around 5 minutes.

    You call it a curse, but I'd love to be able to have that kind of musical ability or proficiency that you have, as long as it didn't mean it'd stop be from being able to enjoy music, if you get what I mean.
    I'd love to hear more of your music, as I only have the one you sent me a few months back when we were sorting out the Gears of War review. I always get really interested when I hear people I know have recorded stuff.

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    Road Warrior Markatansky is on a distinguished road Markatansky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jokesound
    I openly don't like a lot of modern mainstream stuff, but not because its popular, but because a lot of it is just hollow and empty, and vacant of a lot of actual talent. I don't find pop interesting for the same fact I don't find most rap interesting anymore, or R'n'B, or Dance/Techno music. Because it has an ability to stagnate far more than rock music does. It may just be me, but I can get a lot of milage out of similarly sounding rock bands, but I can't stand similarly sounding pop acts.
    Exactly! There's no substance to the music. This is what I was trying to put across but I'm not sure how well I did it - I never got my Higher English.

    It pisses me off when I see posts on Facebook about a "TUUUUUNE" and it's some talentless monkey who's actual singing voice has been edited so much they sound more robotic than Johnny No.5. It's not just studio recordings either, it's live performances too. I read about people seeing "amazing" bands live at T in the Park and I am completely baffled. I've seen only a handful of bands live, namely Saxon, Anvil, Airbourne and KISS - each were brilliant, KISS especially. In comparison, none of these modern bands' songs have any solos so where exactly do the amazing parts come in? Is seeing a band live purely "amazing" because you've heard their whole album being played to you with the band there in front of you? I don't know about you, but paying an vast amount of money to hear an album live isn't worth it, regardless of the band. As Gene Simmons himself said "people work hard to earn that money, and if they choose to spend that hard-earned money to see KISS live, how fucking dare we ruin that for them?". If I want to pay to see you live, Mr. Band, you better blow my fucking mind. KISS, in particular, know what their fans want and they know how to achieve that. And they do it with hundreds of gallons of flammable liquid, fake blood, explosions, fireworks, confetti, shit hot light shows and god-damned flying musicians. That's truly amazing - these people have no idea what the word even means.

    But I'm glad at least that you folks have been pretty open towards this (so far ;D) and haven't just flamed me with rage, hate and ragehate before banning me from the forums like I'd have expected elsewhere. It's nice to rant about stuff like this and get a mature (and I use that term loosely) discussion going.
    Last edited by Markatansky; 16-07-2010 at 23:48.
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  9. #9
    Chief, innit MarkuzR has much to be proud of MarkuzR has much to be proud of MarkuzR has much to be proud of MarkuzR has much to be proud of MarkuzR has much to be proud of MarkuzR has much to be proud of MarkuzR has much to be proud of MarkuzR has much to be proud of MarkuzR has much to be proud of MarkuzR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jokesound View Post
    You call it a curse, but I'd love to be able to have that kind of musical ability or proficiency that you have, as long as it didn't mean it'd stop be from being able to enjoy music, if you get what I mean.
    I'd love to hear more of your music, as I only have the one you sent me a few months back when we were sorting out the Gears of War review. I always get really interested when I hear people I know have recorded stuff.
    I do actually see it as a curse... it's why I have to listen to an album on repeat for a few hundred listens before I stop listening to each individual instrument/layer broken down and THEN start listening to it as a finished work. Scenes From A Memory was the worst... I listened to that for a year, from 8am until maybe 7pm every day and had to replace the CD because it would no longer play. THEN I started to enjoy it as a DT fan. It's a curse, but a bit of a blessing too... when I decided that I wanted to learn to play drums, I'd pretty much learned all of the songs anyway before I even sat behind the kit and all I had to do was execute what was already in my head. Made it a lot easier to become a drummer, but I still wish I could hear music through the ears of an appreciator rather than on an academic level.

    Goshums... I honestly don't let very many people listen to anything that I've done... not because I worry about whether they'll think I'm shit, but because it was never written with an audience in mind... I just wanted to listen to it myself Having said that, my friend Graham and I DID actually say that we were going to write and record a whole album this year. It's mid July now. Ain't gonna happen. I'll let you hear some other stuff then I'm listening to a dozen or so at the moment, currently listening to "Dumping U By TXT" and have decided to re-record the vocals this weekend. May also redo the drums as it was my previous drum module and it sounds wank.

    Quote Originally Posted by Markatansky View Post
    It's nice to rant about stuff like this and get a mature (and I use that term loosely) discussion going.
    Mature!? You angling for a banning sir?? You know... Gene Simmons is a guy that I'll likely never diss, no matter what he does wrong (such as his hair). He gave me an incredible piece of advice one day and I've pretty much lived by it, it's made me who I am today... a cynical bastard that goes after what he wants and makes sure he gets it. I'm not sure I'd be the person I am today without his advice.
    Last edited by MarkuzR; 17-07-2010 at 00:01.
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    "If you want me to 'act professional', I can tell you that I'm not interested. I'm sitting in my home office wearing a bathrobe. The same way I'm not going to start wearing ties, I'm *also* not going to buy into the fake politeness, the lying, the office politics and backstabbing, the passive aggressiveness, and the buzzwords. Because THAT is what 'acting professionally' results in: people resort to all kinds of really nasty things because they are forced to act out their normal urges in unnatural ways."
    Linus Torvalds

  10. #10
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    See, I at first thought there wasn't much point of seeing bands live, but a lot of the time its the experience of it, and the things that the bands do sometimes to get the audience more involved.
    For example, I consider Bowling For Soup probably the best live act I've seen. Granted, their music isn't amazingly technically proficient, but it sounds good to me, it has a good mixture of happy, angry and jokey, and so forth. Live, you know for a fact they're enjoying the hell out of performing to everyone, and they point it out that they put on the best shows they can for their fans (especially the UK ones) because without them, they wouldn't be a band. BFS will openly joke around, make jokes with each other and the audience, cover a random song, play without a set setlist, and for a couple of songs, they'll just completely stop, go off on a random tangent (when I saw them in October, they stopped and posed for everyone for photoshoot opportunities), then go back and continue the song exactly where they left off. It's not just they were playing the songs, but they made you feel such a connection that you couldn't help but be enthralled. (That may just be me, though). Linkin Park, when I saw them at the O2, me and my friends were right at the back, but they sounded fantastic, we had a hell of a time, and they openly talked to and joked with the crowd. Mike Shinoda got the keyboard out and played an improv'd rendering of Umbrella, fucked it up and joked about it. I still have the bootleg of that performance (you could pay for it beforehand and get it downloadable a couple weeks later, something more bands should do), and every time I listen to it, I'm transported back to when I saw them, and I still love it.

    Also, bands muck around live. The Blackout at Download played a medley of Blind by Korn, Break Stuff by Limp Bizkit, then Epic by Faith No More because those bands were on later in the day. Trivium stopped and joked with the crowd because one of the guitars broke during the intro to a song, and Matt Heafy stopped, turned to the microphone and went "Mwap mwap mwaaaaap". Rage Against The Machine and Serj Tankian gave speeches before songs, or about the songs.
    Scars on Broadway were a slightly disappointing band in retrospect (despite the cheap tickets) because they came on, played all their songs without recognisable breaks inbetween, then fucked offstage again. Support bands normally fall flat on their arse because they're occasionally either badly mixed, or they try way too hard to get people into them, and it comes off slightly embarassing.
    There's a few things they can do, but if you're into the music, and you're with a bunch of people also enjoying the music, while that music is being played for you at that very moment, its given me some of the more amazing experiences in my life.

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