Results tagged “pk 14” from Andy Best

1984: New album from PK14

Beijing based band PK14 have released their new album. Let's start with the links:

Stream or buy at Maybe Mars' Bandcamp page right here

Listen to the album at the Chinese language site Douban right here

1984 is their fifth official full album. Together with the side projects, production work and the general influence of frontman Yang Haisong, PK14 are perhaps the most important band in the China scene. This album represents a serious work by serious artists whose development can be tracked across a series of excellent releases. They transcend simple genre conventions and have produced a work of real depth, in a sound and style that is their own.

The album is on the Maybe Mars label, was recorded at Chicago's Electric Audio with Steve Albini and produced by long term collaborator Henrik Oja.

Ready made China tour plan

PK14 have just put their tour details online and it's awesome - not only because they are touring and they are great, but because the map image and list of dates / venues is basically a ready made tour plan for anyone else who wants to do it. Here's the photo and the venue list (in Chinese) ... and look, they are even playing in Xi Ning, Qinghai Province. 

click for larger
tour map

时间 城市 演出场所 
8/28/13 济南 盒子酒吧 
8/29/13 青岛 Downtown Bar 
8/30/13 南京 古堡 
8/31/13 上海 Mao Livehouse 
9/1/13 无锡 大门文化 
9/2/13 苏州 Wave Livehouse 
9/3/13 宁波 CMK 
9/4/13 杭州 酒球会 
9/6/13 武汉 Vox 
9/7/13 南昌 黑铁 
9/8/13 福州 海峡摇滚 
9/9/13 厦门 Real Live
9/10/13 珠海 现场酒吧 
9/11/13 深圳 B10 
9/12/13 台北 The Wall 
9/13/13 香港 蒲吧 
9/14/13 广州 凸空间 
9/16/13 长沙 4698 
9/18/13 重庆 坚果俱乐部 
9/21/13 成都 小酒馆 
9/23/13 兰州 葵Livehouse 
9/24/13 西宁 南墙 
9/25/13 银川 铜管 
9/27/13 西安 光圈Club 
9/28/13 郑州 7 Livehouse 
9/29/13 新乡 Ark Live House 
10/1/13 北京 愚公移山 
10/3/13 大连 赫兹 
10/4/13 长春 重走青春音乐酒吧
10/5/13 哈尔滨 开往春天的地铁酒吧
10/6/13 沈阳 旋转木马俱乐部

PK14 record new album at Electrical Audio

pk14 chicago
PK14 are the legendary post-punk band from Nanjing. They are based in Beijing and currently on Maybe Mars. 

The band have just given us an update at the page on their new album.

Original post (Chinese language)

The band have now completed recording their fifth studio album. The producer is still Henrik Oja, but this time they have recorded the material at Chicago's Electrical Audio studio and it was engineered by Steve Albini himself. I'm a fan of his band Shellac and a well-known example of something he did in the studio is Nirvana's In Utero. 

The post says that the album will be out early next year.

Meanwhile, in other China post-punk news, Henan's The Fallacy are touring. No Shanghai date announced yet though, maybe someone could get on that? They are great. Go to the page to listen.

Video: PK14 Behind All Ruptures

Here is a video of PK 14's Behind All Ruptures directed by David Harris. The video may seem subdued at first but stay with it, the final shot is way weird and very PK 14. 

And the music is PK 14, of course. I like them, and a few other people in China seem to also.

Maybe Mars Showcase @ Mao

pk14 usa timfranco
Photo of PK14 in the USA by Tim Franco

So, Friday night and Maybe Mars rolled into town with four of their bands:

Apart from newcomers Rustic, these bands are the finished product. Each one with one, or more, albums of top quality songs and a polished sound and performance. This being at Mao Livehouse Shanghai, with all their fancy lights and top quality equipment, I was so excited to hear a loud show that still kept the individual sounds of the bands. 

But it was not to be. The sound was all over the place with each act getting about two tracks that really hit the mark. Only PK14 had the audience so pumped up by their mere presence that it simply didn't matter. The guitars were especially bad with sounds ranging from bone dry to a wall of mid-range whine. Only Yang Fan of OBM reproduced her trademark sound. The lights were all over the place too with no hint of a master setting that defined the space. Just a bunch of flashing in a cavern. 

But it was still a good night. It's Maybe Mars.

The audience seemed baffled by Rustic at first and the hall was still filling up but they ended with a flourish. With two more tracks to go, Rikki Sixx spat his beer up into the light stream creating a mist fountain, the guitars were pointed into the crowd and a dance broke out for the first time of the night. I was there to rock out to 24 Hours after their amazing Yuyintang show but they were hampered by poor sound and what seemed like poor monitors too. But still, buy that CD, it's so f*cking good.

Ourself Beside Me played a good set. The sound was the most intact of the four acts and they did a solid job after a few months off the gig circuit. The audience seemed into them too despite their experimental sound not usually being for everyone. Good for the audience. PK14 are just legends so none of the above really mattered. Everyone started to go nuts as soon as they saw singer Yang Haisong, me included, and they enjoyed the reception that their status deserves. Half way in to the set I spotted Maybe Mars' Michael Pettis and decided to stalk him. We spent some time backstage chatting, with Nevin Domer too. I was a bit star struck the whole time though, as Yang Fan was right there by me the whole time. Swoon. She's just so badass/cool and a great guitarist. 

The whole crew are back next month with Carsick Cars. Watch the blog for details.

Friday choice agony problem

rustic in hong kongFirst of all, this is the funniest photo ever and somehow a perfect fit for the band (Rustic). It's from their Hong Kong trip during their run in the Global Battle of the Bands comp. The red suit, shades and half-turn, the hostesses taken by surprise, one covering the face, one leaning out of shot and one with the stern look, the mama-san coming forward with the no-photo gesture, Rikki Sixx's snakeskin pants-clad backside poking in the side. It's pure gold.

But anyway. This Friday, January 22nd 2010 has the first clash I just can't decide since the scene got big enough to have more than one must-see show on in one evening. Let's kick off with the two shows.

At Mao, the Maybe Mars showcase with:

The Gar
24 hours

At Yuyintang the "Puma Uncovered" I don't know what the f*ck it's about show with:

The Mushrooms

OK. So the Maybe Mars showcase speaks for itself. It's at Mao, the sound should be great and all the bands are great. It's PK14 headlining ... PK14.

The other show is called Puma Uncovered, with the 'Puma' taking headlining position in the promo material and the tag line also refers to a DJ ipod battle ... and then the bands are in there. It's annoying as a big bag of annoying things and I'm sorry if I get this wrong or something. But anyway - it's The f*cking Mushrooms and Ziyo (Helen from Pet Conspiracy's other band) at Yuyintang!   

Ah, my head hurts ... this one or this one?

But look again at which six bands are all playing in Shanghai on Friday night. If that doesn't get you out to a indie/rock show then there's no hope for you.

Maybe Mars returns + January goodness

Hard to believe it's almost a year since Splitworks brought us the Maybe Mars showcase as part of their Jue Festival. Here's what I wrote about it back then.

This time around it's at Mao Livehouse and features a more rock oriented line up with PK14, The Gar, 24 Hours and Rustic. Click on the flyer for a legible version and you'll note it's on Friday 22nd January. Here's the Douban event page.

Regular readers of the blog will not need reminding of how awesome this is going to be. The last time was a real event with great bands but the questionable acoustics at the Dream Factory deadened the enjoyment for me. Mao on the other hand is a world class, purpose made music venue. With a potential Expo shutdown on the way, this could be the event of the year already. 

Talking of cramming stuff in before the Expo, take a look at some of the shows coming up this January:

Sat 2nd
Zhong Chi, Sonnet, Coverpeople @ Mao
GuaiLi @ Yuyintang

Fri 8th 
Triple Smash, Forget and Forgive @ Yuyintang

Sat 9th
Tookoo, Bigger bang @ Yuyintang

Mon 10th 
Great Lake Swimmers @ Yuyintang

Fri 15th
Duck Fight Goose, Boys Climbing Ropes @ Yuyintang

Fri 22nd
Maybe Mars @ mao

Sat 23rd 
Metal/Hardcore @ Yuyintang including Suzhou's awesome Mo Xie

And don't forget, there are plently more shows than that going on each week in the district's smaller venues such as Harley's, Sus2, Logo and Anar ... not to mention regular venue shows at Live Bar up in Yangpu.

AV Club's year in band names

It's that time of year again. Readers of the blog may get the impression that I don't follow music outside of the China scene. But that's just the topic of the blog, not me personally.

My favourite end of year feature is the AV Club's band name round up.

This is one of the funniest lists you can read ... adopts serious voice ... because it's true. Although I still think 2007 can't be beat. These were real band names from that year:

Gay Witch Abortion
Happy Mother's Day, I Can't Read
The Asbestos Tampons
Statutory Grape
Slut Barf

Makes you think though, what China scene band names would make a list like that? Looking through my Douban band pages, I see that most band names seem quite normal or at least they suit the band. There are some odd ones but none as off the rails as the attention grabbing cries for help that come from the massively over saturated and competitive scenes back home.

We have the Retros for acronyms (Rebuilding the rights of statues) or PK14 (the public kingdom for teens).

Elephant Maker, Double Control Where and Banana Monkey are a bit random. What do you all think?

Duck Fight Goose live @ Yuyintang

I have to start this post by apologising. Usually I make a point of linking up the bands so you can click into their pages and music. However, all the following local bands have their main pages on Douban. Douban has been temporarily blocked for cleaning following several rumoured online events exploiting the vast comedy potential in a certain parade.

So. Last night's show at Yuyintang was supposed to be The (International) Noise Conspiracy, a major band who's latest release was produced by Rick Rubin. The Mushrooms were making up the local support along with The Offset: Spectacles. However, it was decimated at short notice and changed into an impromptu Miniless night with Boojii and Duck Fight Goose coming in. So the line up was:

Duck Fight Goose
The Offset: Spectacles

I don't write up performances that I didn't see fully and/or give proper consideration so I'm only going to talk about DFG, sorry again.

Duck Fight Goose is a kind of experimental scene super group that includes Da Men and San San from Boojii and Han Han from LOS, who is also the founder of Miniless Records. They gave their tightest performance yet, channelling early Pink Floyd and Rush while using loops and modern effects to create sophisticated layers. The music is mainly instrumental but the dynamics were tightly executed making it very engaging.  Both Boojii and DFG will now head up to Beijing for the Modern Sky Festival.

The other feature of the night was the audience itself. While sparse due to the last minute cancellations, it was full of band members and scene people. The most prominent was Yang Haisong, legendary frontman of PK-14 and recent producer of the outstanding Lava | Ox | Sea album. What's more, he was sporting the LOS tee that Jake's wearing in the photo. Nice. I could go on all night name dropping like Perez Hilton. But I won't. 

Midi, Modern Sky, Youtube and a failed adventure

midi festival old promo
The Beijing festival news/ongoing thing has become relevant to me this week. In case you haven't got a clue what I'm talking about, you can follow the whole thing on China Music Radar. Basically Modern Sky is on and there's going to be a preview show in Shanghai. What that means is that the three bands going up from Shanghai will play Yuyintang on Thursday before they go.

They are: Cold Fairlyland, Top Floor Circus and No. 33 Island.

I'm going specifically to see Top Floor Circus, a punk act. I'm a little bit wary though. Top Floor Circus have been on a semi-permanent break for ages. When members have had the time to perform, they have done so solo or in side projects - Lu Chen solo and Zhong Ke in Muscle Snog, for example. No. 33 island are new to me. They list Syd Barret among their influences and it shows:

No. 33 Island - myspace

A few posts back I did a round up of my Youtube Channel (available via the side bar). I got to this from selecting see all and then ordering them by views, just for fun. I have low views there compared to major channels or Youtube celebrities but they represent a more discerning readership of people who care about our scene. Reading of the top row gives a top five but I went for six in the post, seemed better for some reason. 

Anyhow, looking at it today we have a new entry into the top six. It's post-rock group 21 Grams. Who is reading my blog and checking out all the post-rock/noise? Ben Houge, do you read this? Curses! Micah, you too.

By the way, since there are obviously fans of this kind of music lurking here, you should check out Ben's stuff too: Ben Houge.

Another fast mover is the Boys Climbing Ropes vid from the Control show. In fact, they are only one view behind 21 Grams at time of writing and could break the top six anytime. It is also worth noting that they have double the views of show headliner PK-14. Come on everyone, let's turn this into a reality-show fiasco. We need new IPs checking out your favourite vids. 

I blogged of a potential adventure to Bar 288 on the weekend. I'd love to tell you how it went ... really. But, I want to keep the focus of the blog on the weekly reviews and vids of shows. I'm keen to avoid a total breakdown into slagging off and complaining. Needless to say I was praying for Yetis. Come back Mummy Three, all is forgiven.

'Control' PK14 live @ Dream factory

rogue transmission
So, ladies and germs, may I now bring your attention to the main event. Well, something like that. It's been a while since Brad Ferguson had The Subs and PK14 down to Windows Tembo and tonight was the first 'big show' since then. I had a personal mission to finally get a BCR song on video for the site. This is my third show in three days and I'm coming down with something or other. I almost didn't make it. However, I was determined not miss a patented 'big show'. Can I say that just one more time ... 'big show'.

There were four bands playing tonight so without further ado, lets have the contenders:

I arrived an hour after the door time and completely missed Hard Queen. Luckily for me I saw them last night. I went down into the stage area and was happy to see the place filling up nicely. Now was my chance to see these bands play with a better sound to a decent crowd who were ready to mosh, dance and go nuts. 

I last saw Rogue Transmission play at Windows Underground. From where I was standing that night, the sound was terrible and I didn't come away with much. It was a different story tonight. While not perfect, the sound was clear and loud. The melodies and colour in the material came out and the energy was certainly there. Front man Dan Shapiro is a real rocker and the crowd were really up for it as the band put on a good old rock show. The 'big show' was all going to plan. 

To be honest, I was not sure how Boys Climbing Ropes were going to go down. The crowd were warmed up and had just flipped out to rock. PK14, the headliners are also punk rock. BCR are more experimental and nuanced. Looking around the hall I saw mainly international students and ex-pats, most of which had probably never seen or heard BCR before. The band also have a hard time getting their sound across at times, due to the shit heaps equipment in smaller Shanghai clubs. The audience stuck with the first couple of tracks while they figured it all out and then got the payoff for tracks like Dirty Bots and Pleasure To Be Here at the end. The sound was ok and people around me were getting into it with dancing up front. Good stuff.   

So, finally PK14. They were solid. People didn't go as nuts I thought they would at first. Again, with a crowd of mainly ex-pats, a lot of who haven't followed the band, there wasn't much awe/excitement as there normally would be with these veterans of the scene. It all got going a couple of songs in though. The sound was percussive and full of middle most of the night, but that just seemed to suit PK14's choppy guitar style. I didn't make it through to the bitter end as the thing I'm coming down with started to sap my energy. I almost accidentally blanked Archie from Splitworks on the way out as he'd shaved off his trademark beard. Archie has just come off a national tour with PK14.

So, readers, were you at the show last night? What did you think? Who did you like? The comments section is open and does not require a log in. 

Spicy duck and spicy prose

I'm going to start this post with an excuse a preface - just for Aric. I really just like to focus on the shows and bands here and it's just my personal blog. I have previously mentioned that covering other sites is futile as they disappear quickly and blah blah blah ... but, I have become a post whore.

Let me define that. 

Post Whore: Someone that posts something only vaguely related to the usual content, or perhaps something they previous swore off on principal, in order to obsessively maintain a high monthly post count on their blog.

Okay. So, this month I surfed into a brand new Shanghai Music Scene website while googling TooKoo. It's called Layabozi (spicy duck neck) and you can find it here:

It's thoroughly modern and combines elements of traditonal web layouts and blog/2.0 features. I was just reading their post on tonight's PK-14 show when I thought to make a post of my own. The first thing I noticed about it is that mysterio thing a lot of netizens do. Someone who makes a site like this is obviously a regular on the scene but declines to give away their real identity anywhere on the site. I do suppose though, that to anyone who knows them "Chilean amateur flautist" probably makes it pretty obvious. In fact now I already have an idea that I met them at TooKoo last night. The real drawback is that you may write something they don't like, having no idea who they are, and be heading to your doom at the next show.

The site itself is more into the China Music Radar territory and wanders into several scenes and genres, also the 'biz' in general. It covers Jazz and has a review of a Joy Division CD along side reports on underground rock shows. Another sign that the site aspires to 'magazine standards' is the writing style. Here's an excerpt from the latest post:

This is the pagan celebration of music, the dancers around the fires of creation celebrating the force of live music, turning on the inspiration, the hearts and the engines. For all of those about to say there's no rock in Shanghai, we recommend extreme care before pronouncing these words, you may be slapped by one of the dark wings of the demons flying over Shanghai. It's as simple as if you don't feel it, it's just not for you. And for those chosen to participate, join the lines and spread the word: Rock is striking out Shanghai. Hell Yeah!!!!

Here is a description of Brad Ferguson:

Ferguson is one of the demons of Rock, who as many custodial demons, has been called to protect and feed the fires of Rock&Roll and during this present age Shanghai is the proud designated zone under his dark wings. 

So, if you're into this style, perhaps Layabozi is the music mag you have been missing, check it out.

TooKoo live @ Yuyintang

hard queen
The TooKoo show tonight had 'the buzz'. They're a solid band that have been around seven years and the English language sites were picking it as a good show. No one, including the band themselves, seemed to be able to describe the music though. The word Emo was making a regular appearance which just makes me think of My Chemical Romance. The buzz led to a swollen crowd, which is great for decent shows - but it's not without it's drawbacks. The hall was peppered with people who could have just as well been walking into Volar and Attica or where ever. As well as the dress shirts and trendy club night outfits there was a bit of attitude. One ex-pat formal dress and grooming guy tried to start a fight after being basically bumped into by a dancer/mosher at a rock gig. Give us a break ... no, on second thought just fuck off. 

I started paying attention to the gig when support act Hard Queen (pictured) came on. I'll be seeing them again tomorrow at the PK-14 show. They did a solid set and the track of the night was definitely Loser which singer Sheena Du announced as their fav track at the moment. In the break I picked up TooKoo's new CD. It's a retrospective called "seven years". Echo Rush played next during which I milled about and talked to some people. I even got chased around the park out back a bit by an over zealous guard. I mean really - you have an entire moonlit public park, with lakes and bridges, at your personal disposal and they really expect you to not leave the area immediately behind the club. 

Before we get onto the main act:

TooKoo on Myspace: listen here.
TooKoo Offical Site: here.

So, just before the gig Morgan from BCR was trying to put me off, humorously, by pointing out their good grooming, Emo tendencies and flashy intro tape. I admit, my heart did sink when the bagpipes started playing Amazing Grace and Morgan shot me the 'you see' look. However, they turned out to be pretty good. And no Emo ... not that there's anything wrong with that.

TooKoo brought a banner, intro music and they were good performers too. Like all good bands they had a singer with style and charisma. The music turned out to be up-tempo indie rock that became popular again after the likes of the Libertines. The singer even had on a pork-pie hat. I will put a video in the Youtube channel - but it's a bit spoiled by the habit of Yuyintang to just flash all the lights simultaneously for entire songs. Anyway, they're a good band and are famous as Midi festival veterans in Beijing. With PK-14 playing Dream Factory tomorrow that'll be two 'big' shows in one weekend, a rare blessing for our tiny scene.

Gossip Week: Brad's back (again), who is Emma?

anar bar
I saw a couple of posts on the City Weekend blogs just today that constitute a post. Surprisingly though, they came not from 'Punknotjunk' or Dan Shapiro but from their general nightlife editor, Jessy.

The first post is about Emma and China West. They are both large scale ticketers and promoters that put on shows in Shanghai and all over the country. The article is about one poaching management staff from the other.

Original post here.

Jessy is reporting on an article first published at China Music Radar here. I must explain something to fans of the rock-indie scene in Shanghai. Emma and China West are the companies responsible for bringing Celine Dion here, and soon Avril Lavigne. So here's a question: what does a Celine Dion stadium gig have to do with the underground rock scene? Nothing ... and so on to the next item.

Brad Ferguson's latest comeback is actually a show he had booked while at Windows Underground. There was no plan beyond the one show -which is this weekend. However, stop the press, here comes a real comeback. CW blogs reveal that Brad is getting back to together with former boss Zooma. Brad and Zooma worked together putting on shows at the ill-fated venue 4-live. Now they will be reunited at Anar Bar. Anar Bar used to be Shuffle bar a while ago, where Brad also worked putting on shows. I myself saw a Subs gig that he put on there.

This makes me crack a smile as the latest venue to join the scene is in fact in my newly defined area for hipsters ... i.e. where I live. Check it out. If things go well, i'll add it in to the Google map soon.

Lets finish with a listen to PK-14, the biggest show coming up this weekend. Here they are.

Brad Ferguson already back on his hoss


controlI have open commenting now, does that mean I might end up with those people who comment on spelling errors? Err, I can spell horse, Brad is from Texas ... it's one of those really really funny jokes ... really funny.

I recently posted on Brad Ferguson's split with Windows Underground right here. Just two weeks later he's already back and promoting a new series of rock shows in Shanghai. This time Brad is branding himself with a catchy name Control. Not literally of course, oh thoseTexans.

The first show is going to be at Dream Factory on the 13th September and Brad's doing it by himself and out of pocket so Shanghai based readers should get along and support the show. Here's the line-up:

Boys Climbing Ropes
The Rogue Transmission
Hard Queen

The release of their excellent CD City Weather Sailing has established PK-14 as pretty much the top punk/rock act in China now. The CD quality, production and conception is right up there and you can even get the CD details via I-tunes - oooooh. That's rather flash for the China underground scene. They are worthy headliners.

I should also mention that when I was following up with Brad on the details for this post he was careful to say that nothing's planned beyond the first show. PK-14 had already been booked for Windows Underground. So, let's have a repeat of the Tembo Subs show - get to the show make it a success and a good time ... and maybe it'll lead to more shows. Also, if you don't go, those spelling-nazi commenters are going to hunt you down.

Eno, Popil, Hard Queen and a sparse August


hard queenWell I don't want to jump on certain bandwagons, no matter how true they may be but there's a certain large sporting event looming near in China. Notice how I yet again started a post with a disclaimer. Anyway, the news is ... Sophia of Yuyintang told me straight out that there's only three shows booked for the whole of August at this time. Also, I asked Brad Ferguson of Windows Underground what was going on there and the answer was much the same - very little over summer. Live Bar have yet to update their webpage at time of writing.

There's still going to be some stuff going on. Frozen Street are yet to play YYT this month and Hard Queen will continue their regular slot on Fridays at Windows Underground. Talking of Hard Queen, they are playing at an art event in Eno this weekend. Eno is a large shop/studio/cafe that supports local artists, the launch is for Popil. Popil crossed-over into the music world with her famous T-shirt design for PK-14. Anyway, that's on Saturday at 3.00pm. I'll be there in case anyone wants to stab me stalk me say hello.

Talking of PK-14. I have been listening to their new CD, City Weather Sailing, this week. They have been abroad recording it. The scope/production of the CD is right up there, as good as anything produced by the scene as it's been for the past few years. Ironically though, it takes them away from the raw punk/indie feel that I like. Is that ironic? I think we're heading for an Alanis Paradox here. You know, it starts with noticing that there's no irony in the situations presented in the song ironic and it ends with finding no acceptable definition of Ironic except the traditional literature one - the reader knows something the character doesn't. Wait, is that a paradox?

Post-rock night @ Yuyintang


21 gramsI have to admit, I'm lost with modern music terminology. I have tried but it's evolved from a few genres into a complete system of jargon. So, I headed down to Yuyintang to see 21 Grams and Wang Wen in the hope of finding out what post-rock is all about.

Well, if this show is anything to go by it means long indulgent instrumentals that are atmospheric or ambient in feel. In Wang Wen's case there was a lot of crossover into jazz as well, especially some of the drum beats. Yuyintang just can't go wrong at the moment. This was a Tuesday night show featuring instrumental bands and yet again it was packed.

You can see vids of both bands at my youtube page

It was another interesting night for bumping into people. This time round was Sean from Neocha. Neocha is an online community for artists and musicians in China. Check it out. The best feature of the site, from the music point of view, is their Next MP3 player. You download it to your PC and then it plays random tracks from their complete database of songs. More importantly, Sean knows his soccer. Respect.

This was also a CD shopping night at YYT's in-house shop. I got PK-14's new CD and also CDs by Sko and Wang Wen. I also picked up a copy of Pleasure to be Here by Boys Climbing Ropes. It's really good and I'm quite taken with their song Dirty Bots. To finish off, I was amused to see that some cheeky bastard has started to sell their own CDs outside the venue. Then again, they had badges (buttons in USA English) and T-shirts that YYT don't have in their shop.

Next up, got a tip off from Abe Deyo about a battle of the bands tomorrow night that includes Hard Queen. 


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