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Nervasystem - Brainradio (Phantasm Rec.)

How would you rate this release  

18 members have voted

  1. 1. How would you rate this release

    • 5/5 - a future classic, a must have for everybody
    • 4/5 - very good, a must have for fans of sub-genre
    • 3/5 - good, typical release for the sub-genre
    • 2/5 - poor, uneven, let down by technical issues
      0
    • 1/5 - avoid at all cost
      0


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antic604    497

ptm1cd191_b.jpg

 

  1. Nervasystem - Mesmer
  2. Nervasystem - Interpretation
  3. Nervasystem & Process - Groktangle
  4. Nervasystem - Kraal Mayalis
  5. Nervasystem - Mythraic
  6. Nervasystem & Skizologic - Hacking The Neuron
  7. Nervasystem & Braincell - Theory Of Cut-Up
  8. Nervasystem & Alex Thynne - Omni
  9. Nervasystem & Graham Wood - Dualtech
  10. Nervasystem - New Si-nap-tic Pathways
  11. Nervasystem & Globular - Brainradio Dub

 

It struck me one day while looking at the cover for Nervasystem’s “Brainradio” that it’s author - inadvertently, or perhaps not? - provided me with an apt description of his music. In mathematics, physics and optics there’s this phenomenon of Moire Pattern, referring to a “secondary, visually superimposed pattern created when two identical patterns are are overlaid while displaced or rotated a small amount from one another”. You know how it looks like? Well, then imagine a similar effect in sound domain :)

 

Mark Dressler, a.k.a. Drezz / Nervasystem is a veteran of psychedelic trance scene, active from day one and rubbing shoulders with other giants of british underground, with releases on Phantasm / Psychic Deli, TIP Records, Flying Rhino, Matsuri, etc. After some hiatus in 1st decade of 2000’s, he came back swinging with “Time Travel” on Anjuna Rec. - a collection of unreleased, hard and banging 90’s psychedelic techno - and two self-released albums: “3” where he explored the more laid-back, experimental side and “4”, an up-tempo, but still very deep, organic and intricate psychedelic journey.

 

The newly released “Brainradio” is a spiritual follow up to “4” then, but with the added sound variety brought by collaborations with artists new & old: out of 11 tracks total, 6 were composed with some of the most prominent figures of our scene. Coming back to my Moire Pattern analogy, Nervasystem’s music can be described as an organic, flowing arrangement of ever-changing ideas and spontaneous, one-off accidents - melodic lines, chords, sampled voices, sound effects, etc. - skilfully and meticulously manipulated over a steady 4/4 beat. In a way that’s very similar to what The Orb or FSoL were doing in the 90’s in ambient: producing sound collages, only loosely bound by the formal guidelines of given musical genre. This means that the music is rarely catchy or immediately accessible for a casual listener, requiring a lot of effort and dedication to fully “get” it, as a lot of what’s happening is taking place in the background, on 2nd or 3rd plane and is often very subtle, nuanced and intangible. I always liked the more random, non-direct music, i.e. one without clear, easily separable and distinct melodic lines, where the brain needs to fill the gaps between sounds to the point when I’m not sure anymore if what I hear is actually there, or it is my mind’s construct… - just like Moire Patterns. For some (many, I’m afraid considering current generation’s short attention span) this kind of music will sound empty and aimless, but for me it’s the definition of PSYCHEDELIC - each listen reveals new things that I missed previously and in one year’s time, when I come back to it, it will sound different still, because the brain will have to figure it out all over again. Sure, it might not always work to the fullest, it will rarely provide an euphoric moment of build-up, peak and release so ingrained into expectations of today’s psychedelic trance consumer, but it does have it’s time & place: when you want to disconnect from the outside world, dive into the sub-consciousness, contemplate your inner thoughts and just drift away… Funnily enough, this would be a pretty spot-on and true definition of TRANCE in it’s most primal, basic meaning. “Brainradio” is therefore a pure, classic PSYCHEDELIC TRANCE album.

 

In the end, I’m not fooling myself that “Brainradio” will achieve some global recognition because it’s at odds with what the larger audience is expecting today - even if it’s more accessible than “4”, it is still too demanding, too out-there and probably not enough in-your-face. I hope it being released on an established label, getting proper CD print (“4” was a CDr) and having for once a genuine distribution will help it reach a wider audience. For me personally, I’m grateful that such non-conformist, intelligent psychedelic music is still being produced and released today. It’s incredibly rewarding, rich experience and shows what psychedelic trance is really all about. It cannot be easy to stick to your guns and go against the trend, but artists like Nervasystem deserve our support ...and money :)

 

5 / 5

 

Purchase here:

http://www.psyshop.com/shop/CDs/ptm/ptm1cd191.html

http://beatspace.com/9651/Phantasm+Records/NERVASYSTEM/Brainradio/detail.aspx

 

Bonus track-by-track info:

  • “Mesmer” and “Interpretation” are minimal, sort of ambient-ish and droning, with the former borrowing heavily from old-school German techno (e.g. Mille Plateaux label) and the latter adding atonal, cinematic samples to create dense, 80’s cyberpunk atmosphere,

  • “Groktangle” (with Sean ‘Process’ Williams) is hard, noisy and pretty random; it starts to get a bit more coherent in 2nd part, but never really achieves much more than being a curious, clever sound experiment and running just over 4:30 doesn’t help it spread its wings either,

  • “Kraal Mayalis” and “Mythraic” see Nervasystem’s earlier formula pushed towards more modern, dancefloor-friendly territory with faster tempo, funkier basslines and more traditional arrangements - but they’re still beautifully abstract, cryptic and non-conformist, only in a slightly more accessible full-on-ish disguise,

  • “Hacking the Neutron” bears Maor ‘Skizologic’ Hasbani’s trademark 303 acid lines and distinct, dry sound all over it, subjected to Drezz’s merciless sonic twisting and mangling, but - while very good - doesn’t really venture sufficiently enough into any of those directions, hanging somewhere in the middle; on the flipside, this one’s probably the most accessible tunes off of the CD,

  • “Theory of Cut-Up” (with Braincell) takes the step that it predecessor wouldn’t, ie. goes deeper into the experimental, vague and highly psychedelic sound sculpting on top of relentless kick/bass combo and accentuated here & there with hints of “normal” melody lurking beneath,

  • “Omni” (with visual artist Alex Thynne) and “Dualtech” (with TIP’s Graham Wood) are even more out-there, trading the mid-album speedy full-on rhythm sections in favour of twisted, wiggly, swirling and meandering soundscapes - sometimes very alien and dark (“Dualtech”), other times more earthly (“Omni”) but always very richly textured, playful and intriguing,

  • “New Sine-Ap-Tic Pathways” dials the tempo down, providing the sounds with much more breathing room and in a lot of ways is reminiscent of X-Dream’s classic “Oscillator”: slow, menacing and relentlessly progressing acidic trance in its purest form,

  • “Brainradio Dub” (with Globular) closes the album in style, mixing guitars, deep bass, water-splash percussions with tons of effects and samples, in a manner that vintage The Orb would be proud of - there are hints of dub, jazz, funk and it’s all served in a hazy, misty collage of electronic effects.

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Starkraver    858

Bandcamp link - https://phantasmrecords.bandcamp.com/album/brainradio

 

I have listened to it a couple of times and I love it. Fantastic album!

 

Well worth the wait, would've been nice if we could have touched the funding mark and supported Drezz directly but this should be better (hopefully) with psyshop more people will buy it. I was kind of surprised by the lack of interest from the "regular" CD buyers when the indigo campaign was up.

 

That artwork has tricked me more than a few times now!! Every time I'm like "the left gap is wider than the right" BAM! Hallucinations! Would love a poster of that :wub:

One of the best albums, superbly complemented by one of the best covers in the recent times.

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Starkraver    858

At the centre of the artwork(innermost ellipse) , I see a dog, is it just me?

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antic604    497

At the centre of the artwork(innermost ellipse) , I see a dog, is it just me?

Looks more like a monkey to me, but yeah - this is also how real psychedelic music works: everyone get something different from it :)

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recursion loop    442

Looks more like a monkey to me, but yeah - this is also how real psychedelic music works: everyone get something different from it :)

Looks like a mantis head to me.

 

Thank you for such an in-depth review. By reading this I clearly understood that this album is not for me, so thanks for saving my time ;) I've also listened to the audio samples from which I got the same impression, but your review confirms this. I guess, I fit your definition of "today’s psychedelic trance consumer" fairly well ;)

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antic604    497

Looks like a mantis head to me.

 

Thank you for such an in-depth review. By reading this I clearly understood that this album is not for me, so thanks for saving my time ;) I've also listened to the audio samples from which I got the same impression, but your review confirms this. I guess, I fit your definition of "today’s psychedelic trance consumer" fairly well ;)

 

Oh, well can't please everyone ;):D

 

The interview with Mark is up as well:

https://www.psynews.org/forums/topic/72249-artist-nervasystem/?do=findComment&comment=1071098

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U.F.Orb    67

Love the review Antic (and the interview !)

 

Avoiding samples to get the full expirience when cd lands in my hands.

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oldschoolgoa    43

gosh nervasystem? so many known tracks from compilations back in da days!!

really classic trippy cover! really cool! :) thanks nervasystem! :)

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oldschoolgoa    43

 

Oh, well can't please everyone ;):D

 

The interview with Mark is up as well:

https://www.psynews.org/forums/topic/72249-artist-nervasystem/?do=findComment&comment=1071098

read it yesterday. was really cool :)

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oldschoolgoa    43

Looks like a mantis head to me.

 

Thank you for such an in-depth review. By reading this I clearly understood that this album is not for me, so thanks for saving my time ;) I've also listened to the audio samples from which I got the same impression, but your review confirms this. I guess, I fit your definition of "today’s psychedelic trance consumer" fairly well ;)

man did you know filteria first album you can see a clown in it?? that amazed me ... weird how you can see certain things in kaleidoscopes n stuff.. sometimes its scary too :mellow::wacko::unsure:

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This album is great start to finish.

Much like Mama Matrix Most Mysterious, this is an album journey with different themes and stories within.

Short, slow, long, fast, breaks, deep, glitched, trance that's extremely psychedelic

 

Good one Drezz =)

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oldschoolgoa    43

At the centre of the artwork(innermost ellipse) , I see a dog, is it just me?

i didnt see anything , i think thats the optical illusion effect :)

 

congrats to nervasystem its really nice to know phantasm records is back on duty :) i still remember fill your head with phantasm was epic good psy and goa stuff. they did really good records including amanite fx n stuff i think :)

 

all the best ... really. :) its really nice

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antic604    497

Had to upgrade my review to 5/5 - it's really THAT good, at least for me it is!

 

I can't get enough of it and - after listening to "4" yesterday - I find "Brainradio" to be more accessible and varied, but still incredibly psychedelic and unique. I know a lot of you started doubting me after my 5/5 Loud "5 Billion Stars" review, but both those albums are awesome for different reasons and it is possible you can like one and hate the other. Do yourself a favour and check it out!

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oldschoolgoa    43

Had to upgrade my review to 5/5 - it's really THAT good, at least for me it is!

 

I can't get enough of it and - after listening to "4" yesterday - I find "Brainradio" to be more accessible and varied, but still incredibly psychedelic and unique. I know a lot of you started doubting me after my 5/5 Loud "5 Billion Stars" review, but both those albums are awesome for different reasons and it is possible you can like one and hate the other. Do yourself a favour and check it out!

damnnnn fokin straight! :D

wish they would bring those psychic deli shit i love so much <3 specially that amanite fx bastard! fucking love it LOL

R-136529-1232296469.gif.jpglolololol

 

but hey look

R-64033-1443246793-4410.jpeg.jpg

 

00668017831.jpg

 

good shit specially that shakta shit double dragons fuckkk ... great times playing this shit on my dads hi-fi... pff no internet no nothing , diggin recs up town in Almada , cash converters n shit diggin records and finding these gems , even small shopping malls where i found asia 2001 in a kinda home made record shop... dude i miss that so much nostalgia i love it so much... so good... miss that so many things have changed and i dont live in portugal anymore. even around here in uk many music shops have closed included HMV.. i still remember FNAC where i found some chill out volume 6 theres ra and friends etc in it ... great covers ... but world changes and we have to cope with it .... unfortunatly. ah well...at least i dont have to get off my arse off pc and dig records anymore but time is hard man... im 32 and theres other responsabilities n shit its all good im happy with things too nowadays but this ? fucking nostalgic as fuck! thank you.

really happy that phantasm is back im full on supporting it like along with old 'friends' suntrip neogoa apart from shit weve been through but sure life is made of good and bad shit happens but at least try to understand each other , least i try sometimes we say things that dont 'fall in' so well to others or see others getting more attention than others i mean... fuck all that i had enough. many things we say and we dont think but man ... fuck it. id rather say whats in my heart and soul , heart whatever and be fuckin straight . i wanna let all fucking bullshit go . fucking ignorance is bliss too anyways... what can one do? thats all i can do. now i go calm myself and stop getting too excited also cuttin down on coffes n shit ..

peace

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MrAnarchy    220

Uhmmm.... uhhh... Hmmm.... I need to process what I just heard. I'll be back

 

Edit:

 

$% @# % %% #@# %%# &$!! $#@ ^$#^@ !@

 

-------------------------------------------------------------------

100%

PROCESSING COMPLETE

 

Ok, everybody knows that Im all about the goa. Goa is my bread, goa is my butter and 98% of psytrance doesn't tingle me at all and, as the peice of crap that I am, I usually just say at the end GOA IS BETTER. BUT this is not your ordinary psy-trance. This is just plain weird. It took me 3 listens on the same day to figure the f^ck I was listening. If you've done acid maybe you will know the feeling of sitting or lying down, looking at the ceiling through your lazy dilated irises just sweating like crazy and not being able to move cause you dont realise in what position your body is and just going with it. A flashback of that feeling happened while listening to this thing the third time, trying really hard to comprehend it. And boy, I DID. Just listen to these psychedelic tracks FULL of weird and twisted noises as they swirl and spiral around you. And that is the thing here, Its full of noises and sounds unlike most psytrance which is minimalistic. Even though this is psy-trance, it has the typical Nervasystem recipe I think. A track sets the pace and stays on it and just pounds and hammers you. No climaxes, few breaks. A marathon if you will.

 

I think that this release is very challenging for the listener and requires you to focus, but it rewards you for it. Dont listen to this if you are doing something and just need some noise in the background.

 

I LOVE this!!! and probably will buy it.

 

Handsdown, this is 5/5

 

Oh and that cover art. Jeez, i keep getting tricked into looking at it for more than a few seconds and regret it later. Hurts my brain!

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antic604    497

a review from Facebook by Noah Richardson:

 

  • "Mesmer" is our introduction into what lies ahead: hypnotic trance dance. The focus is on the sounds and not the drums. The gated sounds add momentum to the medium drive and the sounds and pads add the space.
  • "Interpretation" the second track is a dark and hypnotically driving piece. Drezz’s use of minimal drums can be heard here. There’s an OM attribute to this one, and it even though it eventually gets pretty twisted, it doesn’t lose its drive.
  • At track three, we have "Groktangle" with Sean Process. This one is a peaker but with a distinct nod to that very-experimental-1998 sound, clearly refined/redefined here in this collaboration. At 4:37 it’s the shortest track, but it works. This track has some of the most drum sounds, mangled yet efficient.
  • "Kraal Mayalis" is another peaker at track four. It’s dark yet driving with big bass and terrifying soundscapes. A really good track that’s full of sounds and hardly any breakdowns, it’s a beater that nods to quality late 1990s psytrance like Parasense.
  • "Mythraic" at six minutes, this track is perfect.; any longer and it would have ruined the flow. A track like this would make an excellent transition in a dj set. One can hear Drezz’s use of distorted synth bass lines, similar to Posfordian acid lead bass. The track morphs into a distorted, melodic ending, like its beginning, sounding like a toy organ, very cool.
  • "Hacking the neuron" This track was co-written with M Hasban from Skizlogic, who are quite a psychedelic act. The use of square-wave bass with minimal filter-tweaking acts as a low-key acid guide to the breakdowns, which in turn present nicely-laid transitions. Again, minimal drums with just a touch of abrasiveness.
  • "Theory Of Cut Up" This is driving on the freeway music. This was written with R Knobloch from Braincell who are somewhat progressive, yet they achieved a harder sound here. This track isn’t fodder.
  • "OMNI" The gritty bass feels like a big, floppy dog rooting around in random hops. Possibly mistaken as the most progressive-sounding of all the tracks, it is actually not. What this track is is a deep understanding of flow and is very clear if you understand the language.
  • "Dualtech" At nine, this is the come-down track, but it’s not quiet. Quite possibly the most mayhemic-sounding track on the album, this one is truly unique. We also have Graham Wood here and it has that TIP taste but reminds me more of Psychopod’s Friagram, which Graham co-wrote. Again, a nod to the experimental side of late-late 90’s psytrance. Very twisted, rhythmic sounds.
  • "New Sine-Aptic-Pathways" The first of the two remaining downtempo tracks, it’s an avante-gard, post-psybient piece. Lots of use of reverbed space and minimal drums allow for the music to speak through. It’s enjoyable and doesn’t sound like an obligatory downtempo album-ending track.
  • Lastly, "Brainradio Dub" featuring M Bennett from Globular is avante-gard, post-psychedelic downtempo dub. The sounds in it are reminiscient of Shpngle’s bubbly atmospheres, like it was programmed by tripping, hedonistic aliens playing guitars and studio machines. The slower tempo allows for the track to seem like a full-length psybient track, maybe 7 or 8 minutes, but it’s only just over five. This is indicative of the foresight to avoid unnecessary repetition and preserve flow. It’s a ‘didn’t we just have a bit of fun listening to this’ ending for an album track.

Conclusion

 

The tracks are bass-heavy but I think that with the insistence of minimal drums, it opens up the sonic spectrum of sound for other things: the music that make this music psychedelic. All those sounds ride on that heavy, yet only suggestive bass. The bass isn’t the focus; the music and sounds are. There is a gradual ascension and descention in energy up to OMNI, where Dualtech is the final come-down (still very psychedelic, and it makes sense to put that track there, because it’s psychedelic in a totally different way from the previous eight tracks).

 

Drezz’s track structures are mostly uniform, but not boring, more like a giant hulking music machine that just needs to take a short break before steaming and churning back to full power again.Some of the many ugly truths about the current sound of psychedelic trance are breakdowns that go nowhere, transitions into pseudo-climaxes, overuse of bass, no clear track structure and non-use of synthesis. Its consistency is its inconsistency, however the true visionary artists whom remain aren’t afflicted by this bitumen. There have been clear delineations in the Goa/psy trance genre in its early and middle history, up until about 2000-1. Thereabouts concept albums all but disappeared, leaving the true visionaries standing alone in the windy desert. It maintains that a movement whose agencies are psychedelia would evolve and exist as a sort of tangible psychedelic trip: a beginning, or an awakening, and on to the full experience of opening the mind and letting go, and then the come-down and ending, a time of reflection for the tripper. The genre’s own ‘trip’ came to an end at about that time (2000-1) and at hence we find a hapless pursuit of forgotten knowledge. Flow becomes lost, and conceptual work is obscured by the new forest of low-hanging fruit. However, the overarching consistency in this album is flow. There is a clearly defined modular (up and down) flow from beginning to end, which always indicates forethought of a concept album. And being that this was conceived with many other talented artists in their field, it would have been conceptual.

Brainradio was mastered by Colin Bennun at The Stooodio, Bristol. Bennun has been a constant, consistent benefactor of quality psychedelic electronic music for a very long time. This album, according to Bennun, “…goes deeper, less compromising. The sound design is something special but he still manages to strike a balance between sweetness and abrasiveness, and between melody and atonality. This is 'eyes-closed and let go' dancefloor music, not something to look cool dancing to.” The ‘melody and atonality’ and ‘sweetness and abrasiveness’ Bennun refers to are clearly balanced by the aforementioned flow in the album. Drezz is a very capable musician in his field, who is able to make music that one has to access their higher mind. Not all of us can do this, and that is the sort of forgotten knowledge we need to remember.

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Starkraver    858

Why I love this album so much is because it satisfies all my music needs. Mad ass psychedelia , ACID, weird bleepy downtempo , bit and pieces of amazing ambient atmosphere & ALL in 1 fucking album.

Amazing stuff! One more sign of a "complete" album is when your favourite track tumbles every other day with the mood, the weather & stuff.

 

A day ago I was totally in love with interpretation , before that it was Hacking the neuron! It's safe to say that Drezz has hacked the shit out of it, my neurons were no more mine and were totally in control of those acid lines and before that it was New si-nap-tic-pathways. Amazing track that one. Sadly the track I'm skipping is kraal mayalis not because it's bad but only because I've abused that track since the day it came out :D hence the less favourite tag.

 

Once again thanks to Drezz for having a strong resolve and putting this beauty out. Flawless releases (for me, suckers) perfect music, perfect artwork! A winner, also I humbly took the artists word and bought it twice :)

I'm trying to push my music tastes onto my girl :P so I thought this is a nice cd for her to begin her collection , given her love for Trippy artworks. :)

 

Just a question to those who own 3&4.

Are there more tracks like New Si-Nap-tic pathways in one of those albums? I missed out on 3&4 :( and there are not on Bandcamp too. I shall get them from re-volt someday. Hopefully soon (right after Mana Source)

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Celaripo    148

i listened to it yesterday

it is good and a very respectable effort

i dont like every track but tracks 7 and 9 are really worth a listen

especially track 9 one of the catchiest psytrance i have heard

 

your style would be matchable to collaborate with psysex too

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Squid    20

This is an album for those that have started their psychedelic journey 20 years ago.

This is an album for those that developed their taste and vision over this long period and did not stay in the comfortable past

This is an album for true psychedelic people.

They can understand.

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Manuser    237

Very impressed by this album. It just lacks a bit of melodies but the style was of course intended to be technoish. The result is extremely psychedelic, surely the most psychedelic CD released in 2016?

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exotic    43

Just listened to it on my bose headphones and was BLOWN AWAY !!! Deep heavy pulsating rhythmic divine ACID!!!!! why the heck did i not listen to it earlier ???

 

Im gonna dig deeper now !!

 

Great reviews Antic and Starkraver

 

10/10 from me

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antic604    497

Why the heck did i not listen to it earlier ???

 

Im gonna dig deeper now !!

 

Never too late :)

 

While you're at it, check those two EPs as well:

https://nervasystem.bandcamp.com/album/e-x-t-e-n-d-e-d-m-i-n-d-e-p

https://nervasystem.bandcamp.com/album/b-r-a-i-n-r-a-d-i-o-extended-player

 

and his old-school album, if you haven't:

https://anjunarecords.bandcamp.com/album/nervasystem-time-travel

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