The Covalent Bond

This site is dedicated to the sharing of ideas in the field of music, literature, and whatever else strikes my fancy. To play the music, you must have Rhapsody. I am just getting started. There will be more to come. "Imagination is more important than knowledge." -- Albert Einstein

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Splashes of Color - Impressionistic Jazz Piano

I have been listening to quite a bit of piano jazz lately and I thought I would devote a playlist to those artist who play piano in an impressionistic style. This is music of mood and atmosphere, often devoid of pyrotechnics, though the pianists are certainly capable of showing off, if so desired. Bill Evans is often the first pianist many think of when referring to the impressionistic style. It is curious to note that Debussy and Ravel, both impressionistic classical composers, were very influential in Evans' musical development. Beside Evans, there are quite a few other pianists that fit the impressionistic mold like Chick Corea and Jessica Williams to name just a few. Click here to listen.

1. Letter To Evan - Bill Evans
2. Indigo - Bernardo Sassetti
3. Billy's Theme No. 1 - Jessica Williams
4. Love No. 1 - Keith Jarrett
5. Send In The Clowns - Bobo Stenson
6. Ojos De Gato - Paul Bley
7. Weep No More - Dave Brubeck
8. Steal Away - Larry Willis/McBee/Bartz
9. Just Beyond The Horizon - Enrico Pieranunzi, Marc Johnson, and Joey Baron
10. Perugia - Brad Mehldau
11. A Lark - Fred Hersch
12. Tea and Watercolors (Geoffrey Keezer) - Geoffrey Keezer
13. Hidden Message - Laszlo Gardony
14. Stan Getz In Chappaqua - Andy LaVerne
15. I'm Lost - Antonio Farao
16. Baubles, Bangles And Beads - Original - Steve Kuhn

Song of the Day - August 31, 2006

Chad VanGaalen has released his sophomore effort Skelliconnection, and you don't have to worry about poor second efforts. It's a great album, just as good, maybe even better than Infiniheart. Since Infiniheart's release, Chad has toured with the likes of The Pixies, Wolf Parade, and Built to Spill. His latest release has a slightly more full sound, yet Neil Young's influence still looms over this effort with country tinged songs like the beautiful "Mini TV" and "Wind Driving Dogs." "Gubbish" is a heavier song, possibly hanging around with The Pixies influenced this great tune. Its repetitive chorus, synthesizers, guitar, and Chad's vocals meld into an irresistible delight. Click here to listen.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Song of the Day - August 30, 2006

Manchester is a never ending source of musical talent. The latest talent flowing from Manchester happens to be Jim Noir, an extradiorinary talent that some have likened to Brian Wilson. A listen to Tower of Love will quickly show that the Beach Boys have been a huge influence on Mr. Noir. Of course being British, he has also been influenced by the likes of The Kinks and The Beatles. "Tell Me What to Do" clearly comes from the mold of The Beatles; while "Climb a Tree," another favorite tune, has some psychedelic tendencies, etheral harmonies, and an overall feel of the 60's. The best song, however, is "My Patch." The vocal harmonies, toy-like piano, and overall catchiness of the song just scream pop masterpiece. I love it. Click here to listen.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Song of the Day - August 29, 2006

Our Brother the Native have released a delicious, delightfully weird album with Tooth and Claw. Combining folk elements with sound samples, tape loops, and unusual vocals, Our Brother the Native create a sonic world that is at times charming in their naiveness, but also simultaneously eerie. What is even more amazing is that this album was basically created by two thirds of the trio (located in Michigan) emailing sound clips back and forth to the third member of the trio in California. Comparisons to Animal Collective have been made by others, and their influence is claimed by the band, yet the sound they create is remarkable for a band composed of two 16 year olds and the elder member of the group at 18. For a taste of the unusual give "Falconiformes" a listen. The barely intelligible vocals may be the work of aliens or something out of a nightmare; whatever the source, the overall effect causes a slight chill to transverse my spine. Song of the day honors go to "Welcome to the Arborary," which is pure psychedelic candy, incorporating drones, acoustic guitar, a similarly strange vocal treatment, keyboards, and a slightly more convential structure. Click here to listen.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Song of the Day - August 28, 2006

Much has been said regarding The French Kicks and their sound, some of it not always praise worthy, but I don't care. I enjoy their sound which is very hazy, full of sweet choruses, and pop-like harmonies, a post Beach Boy era sound, if you will. Their latest Two Thousand is in a similar vein. There are some ever so slightly subdued moments on the album, like "No Mean Time," which features acoustic guitar over electric, and "Go On," the album closer, a slighter darker tune that still can't escape the overall upbeat nature of the band. However, the album standout for me is "Also Ran." A song that features beautiful vocal harmonies, a definite 80's sound, with hints of The Cure, and shimmering guitar work. Click here to listen.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Song of the Day - August 25, 2006

My craving for British music received a gigantic dose of satisfaction with the Dirty Pretty Things' Waterloo to Anywhere. The disintegration of the Libertines resulted in the creation of at least two bands. Pete Doherty formed the band Babyshambles and Carl BarĂ¢t created Pretty Dirty Things with former Libertine drummer Gary Powell. Waterloo to Anywhere is full of great songs that combine elements of The Libertines, Clash, and reggae influences. A favorite song is almost impossible to pick from this excellent album. Opening track "Deadwood" is a cracker of a song, "Bang Bang You're Dead" was played during their recent appearance on The David Letterman Show, and "Blood Thirsty Bastards" starts slowly while building to a rockin' climax. Given all the excellent choices, I picked "Gin and Milk" as song of the day due to Carl's excellent vocals, punk angst, and angry guitars. Click here to listen.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Song of the Day - August 24, 2006

If you are looking for something a little different, then Black Fiction may be the choice for you. Combining elements of Fiery Furnaces, Animal Collective, and Kelley Stoltz, Black Fiction creates understated beautiful music, in the folk vein with a dash of pop thrown in for good measure. Their debut album Ghost Ride is not quite what I would call freak-folk, rather their music sometimes incorporates world music influences, whimsy, and unusual vocals which all contribute to their unique appeal. At this point in the year, I see it as one of the highlights of the year. Favorite tracks include the more electric "Magic Hands," the keyboard heavy self-titled "Black Fiction," and the unusual background vocals and harmonica treatment of "Ghost Ride." I must say that it was the track "I Spread the Disease," that first drew my attention to Black Fiction. It starts out with a contagious, soulfully slow groove and an almost comical but enduring falsetto vocals. Oh, this song just worms your way into your brain! Click here to listen.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Organ Envy

Every now and then I need a dose of heavy duty soul, the kind with plenty of Hammond B3 accompaniment and a good sax solo doesn't hurt either. Jimmy Smith immediately comes to mind, but there were others like Charles Earland, Jimmy McGriff, and Shirley Scott, who happened to be Stanley Turrentine's wife. Of course many organist were not the band leaders, but sideman. Freddie Roach accompanies Ike Quebec on the opening tune, which was my inspiration for this list. Other notable sidemen include Wild Bill Davis, who is featured with Duke Ellington in "Black Swan," while Don Patterson backs up Sonny Stitt on "Soul People." As summer slowly fades away, a little organ jazz may just be the perfect soundtrack for a summer afternoon. Click here to listen.

1. Heavy Soul - Ike Quebec
2. Midnight Special - Jimmy Smith
3. Minors Allowed - Johnny 'Hammond' Smith
4. Red, Green & Black Blues - Charles Earland
5. After Hours - Richard Groove Holmes
6. Angel Eyes - Gene Ammons
7. Senor Blues - Shirley Scott
8. Meydele - Skip Heller Trio
9. Trouble Man - Reuben Wilson
10. Hittin' The Jug - Jimmy McGriff
11. One Mint Julep - Joey DeFrancesco
12. The Honeydripper - Jack McDuff
13. Jungle Soul - Dr. Lonnie Smith
14. Trip Merchant - Larry Young
15. Black Swan - Duke Ellington
16. The Selma March - Grant Green/Donald Byrd
17. The Beast - Milt Buckner
18. Stomp - Charles Kynard feat. Wilton Felder
19. Soul People - Sonny Stitt
20. Mudcat - Bill Doggett
21. The Wizard - Greg Hatza
22. Easy Living - Lou Bennett

Song of the Day - August 23, 2006

It is time for some mellow bliss inducing music. Kaki King, the acoustic guitar sorceress, released Until We Felt Red this month. This album features Kaki's vocals, which is a pleasant surprise given that previous efforts were primarily instrumental. In addition, the album was produced by John McEntire of Tortoise, which contributed to a richer sound. "Yellowcake" is the standout track, showing to best advantage Kaki King's vocals and her fingerstyle guitar playing. A perfect song for a lazy morning. Click here to listen.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Song of the Day - August 22, 2006

Garage rock, summer, hot days, distortion, rock and roll, I love it. The Mutts hail from England and emit a sonic torrent similar to Black Sabbath and Deep Purple. If you love that bluesy sound from the 60's and 70's then The Mutts are your band. Their latest is I Us We You and will even appeal to those who clamor for more cowbell, as in the excellent track "Take Your Pick." Other highlights include "Gutter Glory" and "Dead Spit." The blues drenched "Don't Worry" wins songs of the day honors with excellent guitar work and great singing. By the way, you will not mistake this song for Bobby McFerrin's similar titled tune. Click here to listen.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Song of the Day - August 21, 2006

Thurston Moore does it again by signing Black Helicopter to his Ecstatic Peace label. Their album, Invisible Jet, evokes a strong wiff of Mission of Burma. As Black Helicopter is a Boston band, I suppose that should be no surprise. However, the relationship is more than sonic, as Invisible Jet was recorded in the same studio that Mission of Burma uses as a practice space. In fact, Mission of Burma's Roger Miller actually plays piano on one of tracks. The opening track, "Buick Electra," is my favorite track. It may have something to do with the fact that I learned to drive in that gigantic boat of a car, the Buick Electra, or with the fact that the song simply rocks. I will go with the latter. Click here to listen.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Song of the Day - August 18, 2006

I never thought I would feature a Britney Spears' tune as song of the day, but the time has come. However, Brittany will not be singing, rather Scott Lucas of Local H has singing duties. Scott is backed by Brian St. Clair on drums. This powerful duo have released their version of Brittany's hit "Toxic" on Alive 05. It's a killer cover, a sugar-free version, if you will. Though the album is a live album at least partially recorded at the legendary Metro in Chicago; "Toxic" is apparently a studio recording. It is amazing how a song that I cared little for, is altered by Local H into something that I find very appealing. Click here to listen.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Thursday's Tantalizing Tonal Variations

I have been neglect in posting a jazz playlist, so I will atone for my sins with this playlist. Check out Jon Faddis' latest work on the opening track. It is truly stunning. There are a few other gems thrown in the mix like the vocal jazz of Roy Nathanson, a very cool recording, and the trombone work of Joe Fiedler. Hopefully you will discover something new that appeals to you. Click here to listen.

1. The Hunters & Gatherers - Jon Faddis
2. Zores Mores - Joe Fiedler Trio
3. Time Zones - Charles Gayle
4. The Minetta Triangle - Edsel Gomez
5. Where We've Been - Larry Goldings
6. Buttermoose - Planet Jazz
7. Waiting In Santander - Frank Kimbrough
8. The Morning Shuffle - Dan Blake
9. Brother Joseph - Frank Lowe
10. Ocean - Dimitri Vassilakis
11. Baubles, Bangles And Beads - Original - Steve Kuhn
12. Morpheus - Patricia Barber
13. O Campe'8bo - Donny Mccaslin
14. By The Page - Roy Nathanson
15. Ascent - Bernardo Sassetti
16. Wiletta's Walk - Horace Tapscott
17. Triskaidekaphobia - Ben Thomas

Song of the Day - August 17, 2006

As we approach the end of summer, I want to grasp every last enjoyable minute. Music to cruise in your automobile is an absolute necessity. Well, Columbia, Missouri's The Foundry Field Recordings released Prompts/Miscues earlier this summer, and it is not too late to pop their CD in your player or MP3 in your IPod, as you cruise down the highway. My first choice would be "Holding the Pilots/Holding the Facts," a song that starts out with some heavy ominous bass, but metamorphizes into a much more upbeat song. The breezy, sweet chorus is reminiscent of The Pretenders. An irresistible urge to roll down the windows and let the rest of the world hear this great song overcomes me everytime I listen to this track.. Click here to listen.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Song of the Day - August 16, 2006

Silversun Pickups came out with their first full length album Carnavas late last month. Their music is a throwback to the 90's, especially the Smashing Pumpkins; one of their most obvious influences. Lead vocalist Brian Aubert has a similar style to Billy Corgan, while the effect laden guitars construct aural structures that twirl and swirl down your ear canal. My favorite track is "Well Thought Out Twinkies," a high energy romp of a song that has a slightly psychedelic effect from the guitar riff used during the intro. Click here to listen.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Song of the Day - August 15, 2006

From time to time I revisit the Rhapsody pages of artists I unearthed in my search for new music. Just the other day I discovered that there was new music by Scout Niblett, last year's Kidnapped by Neptune. I am not sure how long it has been on Rhapsody, but I love it none the less. Scout Niblett at first may come across as just another mellow female singer songwriter. However, that could not be further from the truth, as she often erupts with a vocal torrent of power that will leave you powerless to resist her music. Opening track "Hot to Death" is a perfect example of how Scout Niblett can go from a sparse arrangement to full-throttle rock and roll. Oh, I really love this album! The catchiest song has to be the title track "Kidnapped by Neptune." Her voice is addictive, like a green olive, while the repetitive chorus drills through your skull, further penetrating your head, until it is in the deepest recess of your brain. Click here to listen.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Song of the Day - August 14, 2006

Free Diamonds are a trio from Newcastle, England, who seem to have forgotten to take their Ritalin. This is not disrespect, I mean this in a good way. Their high pitched singing, spastic beats, and crazed energy all contribute to their appeal. Their debut There Should Be More Dancing is truth in advertising, as all the songs challenge the listener to sit still. It is difficult to resist the funky rhythms of a song like "The List of Everyone," which takes a funky bass and combines it with Gang of Four influenced guitars and Scott Anderson's vocals, who sounds as if he is taking a perpetual hit of helium. Click here to listen.

Friday, August 11, 2006

The Dog Days of Summer

With the tremendous heat wave that has been over the country for most of the summer, I thought a playlist devoted to the dog days of summer would be appropriate. The only rule I had is that the song title must mention dogs or some derivation of the word. I love the bluesy opening track by Marvin Pontiac, the groovy Afro-beat rhythms of Fela Kuti, the reggae beats of Peter Tosh, and the explosive energy of Iggy Pop. Click here to listen.

1. I'm a Doggy - Marvin Pontiac
2. Dog Meat - The Flamin' Groovies
3. Dog Faced Boy - Eels
4. Dog - The Meteors
5. Dog Eat Dog - Fela Kuti
6. Dog War - Toots and the Maytals
7. Dog Gone - Frank Black
8. Fat Dog - Peter Tosh
9. Dog On Dog - The Mutts
10. Dog Food - Buttersprites
11. Dog Riot - Sparklejet
13. Dog Meat - Adam West
14. Dog Days - 50 Foot Wave
15. Dog Days - Oneida
16. Dog Park - Minus The Bear
17. Dog Breath - Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention
18. Dog Eat Dog - Ted Nugent
19. dog army - The Chambermaids
20. Dog at Large - Naked Raygun
21. Dog on Wheels - Belle and Sebastian
22. Dog Inside Your Body - Butthole Surfers
23. Dog Man Blues (instrumental) - Stevie Ray Vaughan
24. Dog on the Sidewalk - Deerhoof
25. Salty Dog - Flogging Molly
26. Hound Dog - Albert King
27. My Dog - Elvin Bishop
28. Mad Dog - Deep Purple
29. Guinness Dog - The Rogues (Celtic)
30. Atomic Dog - George Clinton
31. Peace Dog - The Cult
32. Bird Dog - Joan Jett and the Blackhearts
33. Short Dog - Poncho Sanchez
34. Sun Dog - Yusef Lateef
35. Lucky Dog - Tito Puente
36. Pavlov's Dog - Conditioned Response
37. I Wanna Be Your Dog - Iggy Pop

Song of the Day - August 11, 2006

Approximately one month ago, Oneida released Happy New Year, which saw the band move to a more psychedelic sound. However, there are still a wide variety of influences and styles apparent throughout the record. "The Adversary" and "Up With People" both have a harder edge; "Up With People" being the harder of the two tunes, actually has an industrial beat. Whereas, songs such as "Reckoning" and "The Misfit" tend towards the psychedelic. "Reckoning" is more of the freak-folk nature, while "The Misfit" has Philip Glass inspired keyboards during the last half of the song and a slight Pink Floyd feel to the song, especially the intro. My favorite track is "Distress," a song that feels it could have come from some medieval monastery due to the simple chanting of the song. Click here to listen.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Song of the Day - August 10, 2006

I must admit, initially I was intrigued when I read the web page about The Legendary Marvin Pontiac. It included glowing accolades by artists like Bowie, Iggy Pop, and Beck. The bio claimed: he died in 77, when hit by a bus, he was institutionalized for insanity, and that his music was the only music Jackson Pollack would listen to while painting. Well the joke was on me (and I am sure a few others), as Marvin Pontiac is actually the alter ego of John Lurie, of Lounge Lizard fame. A brilliant hoax, the album is a strange conglomeration of styles borrowing heavily from Zappa, Beefheart, Tom Waits, blues, funk, and world beat. The Captain Beefheart and Zappa influences standout on the track "Bring Me Rocks." Funky guitars combine with Lurie doing his best Zappa Over-Night Sensation spoken word imitation alla "Montana" along with a crazed chorus to create an unusual but great track. Click here to listen.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Song of the Day - August 9, 2006

The Archie Bronson Outfit have released a tremendous album in Derdang Derdang. This album was produced by Jacquire King, the same producer that worked with the Kings of Leon. This probably explains the slight twang you hear in their music, despite the fact that the band hails from London. They were actually discovered by the head of Domino Records (home of Franz Ferdinand and Arctic Monkeys), while performing in a local pub. I love the way Sam Windett's vocals, which seem to have a sense of urgency, combine with the band as they create lo-fi garage rock with slight psychedelic overtones. The album is packed with great tunes, such as "Cherry Lips," "Jab Jab," and "Kink." Hell, I like them all. My favorite is "Dart For My Sweetheart." The song begins with almost tribal drums, followed by a twang-tinged guitar, and Windett's vocals. The rhythms continue to build until the chorus, which is extremely addictive. In fact, it is so addictive I will need to make an appointment with a neurosurgeon to remove this song from my brain. Click here to listen.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Song of the Day - August 8, 2006

The invasion from the North continues with Canada's Tam. Tam is actually Tam Isabel Pardo. She is part of the growing stable of artists on Thurston Moore's Ecstatic Peace label, which recently signed a distribution deal with Universal. A talented artist, she formerly played guitar in a Django Reinhardt tribute band and wrote lyrics for The Unicorns. Her self-titled album is a collection of songs personally selected by Thurston Moore. Besides original tunes, there are also a few covers: Arcade Fire's "No Car Go," and Daddy's Hands "Incest at Best." It is the disturbing cover of "Incest at Best," that immediately grabbed me when listening to her album. Check out Tam, you will not be disappointed. Click here to listen.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Song of the Day - August 7, 2006

Seattle continues to produce great bands. Boat recently floated into my consciousness with Songs That You Might Not Like. Their style of music has been labeled "sloppy pop," which is an apt descriptor. Their songs are relatively short, in the 2 to 3 minute range, and feature everything from guitars, cello, melodica, to a Mardi Gras hat. This is one hell of an album. I love the originality of their sound, which can be described as almost innocent in a lo-fi way. Great songs are numerous: "Clogged Castle," "Beast for Hire," "Elephant Ears," and "Noun Clown" are just a few. My favorite tune is "Return of the Rainbow Shoelace," with guitars full of reverb, an almost corny harmony, and a style that defines "sloppy pop." Click here to listen.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Song of the Day - August 4, 2006

I wasn't that familiar with The Mountain Goats until last week's Pitchfork Festival. John Darnielle put on an excellent show and converted me into a life long fan. I was fortunate enough to be very near the stage (about 10 feet) and enjoyed his brand of indie-folk immensely. Last year The Mountain Goats released The Sunset Tree, which was loved by many and now by me. John Danielle is a master of the lyric combining erudite references, disturbing subjects, and sometimes nebulous words that I find very intriguing. Great songs abound on The Sunset Tree. Favorites include: "Dilaudid," "Lion's Teeth," and "Hast Thou Considered The Tetrapod." Song of the day honors go to "This Year," an emotional song dealing with Danielle's troubled youth. Click here to listen.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Song of the Day - August 3, 2006

I love the track "Champion" from Professor Murder's EP, Professor Murder Rides the Subway. It is one of the best post-punk funk dance tunes of the year. It combines elements of the erratic, spastic beats of The Fall, insidious keyboards, cowbell, and assorted strange sounds. This NYC quartet is sure to draw attention to itself with one of the funkiest EP's of the year. Click here to listen.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Song of the Day - August 2, 2006

Nick Castro has formed a new band called The Young Elders, which includes a multitude of musicians including the beautiful vocals of Wendy Watson, members of Current 93, Cul de Sac, In Gowan Ring, and a few others. Nick has a habit of attracting great talent. In the past, he has worked with Josephine Foster and members of Esper. The instrumentation on Come Into Our House ranges from oud, harmonium, cello, trombone, and tabla. As a result, there are definite world influences to this freak-folk album. My favorite track is a cover of "One I Love" which features the singing talents of Wendy Watson accompanied by the rest of the band with luscious vocal harmonies in the spirit of Crosby, Stills, and Nash. I have been playing it over and over. Click here to listen.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Song of the Day - August 1, 2006

Since I ended July with a bang, it would only be fair to start August in an equivalent manner. There are similarities between Awesome Color and Thee Emergency: both released great debut albums this year, Iggy and the Stooges heavily influenced each band, and there is a Michigan connection. Thee Emergency, though from Seattle, went to Detroit to record Can You Dig It?, where they utilized Jim Diamond's (of White Stripe fame) Ghetto Recorders Studio. I love the band's stage names: Dita Vox on vocals, Sonic Smith on guitar, Nick Detroit on bass, and Tom T. Drummer obviously on drums. Dita Vox's vocals are a delicious blend of Chrissie Hynde and Janis Joplin. Their songs range from The Rolling Stones influenced "Sugar," and the Who-like "Sweet Sex," to the punk flavored "Revolution # 1," which has the same driving energy of a Dead Kennedys tune. However, it is the Stooges energy coupled with Dita Vox's Chrissie Hynde style vocals on the opener "Girl You Should've Known," that best exemplifies Thee Emergency's style. Click here to listen.

July 2006 - Songs of the Day

July started out with the gentle folk of Vetiver and ended with the raw power of Awesome Color. Sandwiched in between those dissimilar bookends was a wide variety of music: the strange and eerie Matmos, the mellow Mount Eerie, and the fuzzed-out bliss of Dirty on Purpose. It's a strange mix to be sure, but variety is the spice of life. A few new discoveries, such as The Epsilons, Conner, and The Unsacred Hearts, are contenders for best of the year. Click here to listen

1. You May Be Blue - Vetiver
2. Calling Lighting With A Scythe - Howlin Rain
3. Bright Guilty World - Shalabi Effect
4. Walking The Plank - Apollo Up!
5. Fever To Kill - Epsilons
6. The Two Three Four - The Unsacred Hearts
7. Unsafe At Any Speed - Partyline
8. Friend of Time - Brightblack Morning Light
9. No Radio - Dirty On Purpose
10. At Least - Baby Dayliner
11. Even Numbers - Gregor Samsa
12. We Know Where You Sleep - The Paper Chase
13. Once Cocked Gun - Minmae
14. Urgency in Harlem - Death of Fashion
15. I'm In No Mood - The Fiery Furnaces
16. A Leader Always Carries A Stick - Grizzly Bear
17. Roses and Teeth for Ludwig Wittgenstein - Matmos
18. Human - Mount Eerie
19. Silent Film Score - Conner
20. Spider House - Shonen Knife
21. Ridin' - Awesome Color

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