You can do better than that (Half Hearted Stab Reviews)

Discuss upcoming, current, and previous song fights.
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You can do better than that (Half Hearted Stab Reviews)

Post by Spud »

You, know, there have to be some threads here so I can link to them when I do the update.
Last edited by Spud on Fri Jun 23, 2006 10:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Eric Y. »

quick first-listen reviews.

big mountain fudge cake - your song sounds like much less of a mess than mine does, but my lyrics are cooler. :twisted:

contaminated land team - lots of instrumentation going on here, but ends up not sounding like a jumbled mass of confusion. vocal melody could be a little better defined, and the song seems to drag on a little long for not really changing much throughout.

danyer - wow i thought the first verse was pretty good (i especially liked "vroom vroom at the raceway") but the second verse was amazing. drink a 20, favorite rapper is 1PAC... total genius, man.

joanie loves chachkies - bonus points for creative name. everything here is pretty quiet; most of the instrumentation gets obscured besides the violin; the dude singing is barely audible for the most part too.

michael maas - nice beginning, good job really grabbing the listener's attention lyrically. real clever story overall, i like the interpretation of the title. loses a bunch of momentum at the bridge, i thought.

ross durand - in contrast to the last song, this one starts out sounding pretty cliche, and doesn't really grab my attention and make me interested in listening to the rest of the song. i mean, i AM listening to it, but the beginning didn't really hook me into it. the guitar sounds pretty though.

sorry, brad bassline is sufficiently rockin, but those organ stabs.. just don't really have that much feeling to them. it's like.. aw hell i can't say it. you get the picture.

steve durand - wow, and i thought this song was loud BEFORE the vocals came in. my eyes are bleeding i think. also: damn, did you just take the whole song and shelve it off at like 1k or something? this is not a very common EQ curve:

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the voice inside your head - despite the fact that these strings are like a year and a half old, i was pretty happy with the sound i got on the bass intro part. as for the rest: i'm going to try again, starting from scratch, and see if i can get a better mix than this. i think one problem was that i decided to fuck with the meter after i had already written the lyrics, and they didn't necessarily fit in right. (for those keeping score at home, the time signatures are ...
15/8, 18/8, 15/8, 18/8, [18/8, 18/8], 21/8, 18,8, 21/8, 18/8, [18/8, 18/8].

.......................
definite front-runners for the gold cup are michael maas and danyer. i'll have to listen to them again but the odds are stacked in danyer's favor.
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Post by Niveous »

Stabbing reviews:

Joanie loves Chachkies- This is good especially with the country-fied fiddles. That's something you don't get a lot in SF. It reminds me of Loyalty Day but the fiddle makes it stand out. A welcome new addition to SF. The ending is flat though.

Danyer- Rap is driven by getting the right samples. This is not the right sample. But Dan's rap skills are lethal. The drips are annoying. I would've rathered a real chorus. That was so/so.

Contaminated Land Team- Pedro is in disguise again. But this one is more keys than guitars. I prefer his guitars. But this is enjoyable. After a while I found myself singing along to the "petty things" line. A contender.

Ross Durand- The Nur Ein brought out a lot of life from Ross' music. This weekend I had "Like A Villain" stuck in head. All weekend. This isn't as catchy. This is actually kind of bland. It's just a sleepy little g^2. And the lyrics aren't strong enough to carry it.

TVIYH- Eric. You're my friend. My bassist. Don't take offense. WTF was that!!! You turned into Big Mountain Fudge Cake's cousin with tourettes. The first half was fine. The Second hand was a jumbles mess of grumping, bass thumps and oddities. Not good.

Michael Maas- Welcome back. Blog reference minus 100 points. But this is a very interesting song. Lyrically, this is incredibly strong. It's an almost cheerful murder ditty. It's as if Billy Joel was killer. That was good.

BMFC- The vocals were terrible. The guitar were great and crunchy. Results- 29 seconds of forgetable.

Sorry, Brad- This is funky. But I hear nothing that says to me this song is "Half Hearted Stab". You could tag a bunch of names on this and it would fit. Sorry Sorry, Brad. This doesn't work for me within the confines of a Songfight.

Steve Durand- Surf rock guitars plus the tower of power horns. It's different, that's for sure. I'm not crazy about the vocals but they aren't horrible. This is very 60's. I can see this as the theme song to a grainy adventure show. But it's a lot of fun. This may just get my vote.

Vote goes to S. Durand, 2nd to Maas and 3rd to Joanie loves Chachkies.
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Post by furrypedro »

Niveous wrote:Contaminated Land Team- Pedro is in disguise again. But this one is more keys than guitars. I prefer his guitars. But this is enjoyable.
Worry ye not, The Kids shall return. But I couldn't resist teaming up with Plat for this one. My only regret is that there are no hand-farts on it so I hope he fancies doing another at some point to make up for it.
Niveous wrote:After a while I found myself singing along to the "petty things" line. A contender.
That's what Plat said (and he is tha king of the singalong - and would have got a chance to prove it here had I been more organised :P). Don't tell anybody I wrote a catchy chorus! I'd never live it down
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Post by Steve Durand »

tviyh wrote:
steve durand - wow, and i thought this song was loud BEFORE the vocals came in. my eyes are bleeding i think. also: damn, did you just take the whole song and shelve it off at like 1k or something? this is not a very common EQ curve:

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Sorry if it comes across as too loud. To me, subjectively, it doesn't sound any louder than big mountain fudge cake.

I did absolutely no EQ adjustments at all.

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Post by maasman »

<b>Big Mountain Fudge Cake</b> - Ha ha, I recognize this! It sounds like your April Fools joke. :) Nice guitar work. Sweet accents at the end. I'd love to hear these backing tracks fleshed out into a "real" song. As it is, the vocals are a little much (and the lyrics are silly). It's also too short. Second listen: yeah, instruments rock. Recycle them!

<b>Joanie Loves Chachkies</b> - The octave vocals are pretty. Some unusual instrumentation, at least for SF, which is refreshing. I like how you panned the mandolin (?) a little to the left. I'd be open to separating the violin and guitar a little, too. As it is they're on top of each other. (Very minor complaint, though, they sound good.) I really like how there's the instrumental section (intro, post-chorus) that breaks the song up. I'm waiting for the vocals to lock into a harmony. Especially on "take a half-hearted stab," where the same note repeats for awhile. Going into a harmony there would really kick it up a notch. Or anywhere, for that matter, since you've got the two vocalists already, but that spot sounds a little drawn out as it is. Lyrically, there are a few words, like "convened" and "obiquies (?)" that sound a little contrived. A minor quibble, though. "Climb down from your high horse" is a cool rhyme. I'm not sure what the story is even after a couple listens; I feel like I'm just overhearing a conversation between people I don't know. Which is fine, but if you're wanting me to feel for Sylvia or the singer I'm not connecting. Overall, the instrumental breaks and vocals put this ahead of the average SF fare.

<b>Steve Durand</b> - I'm immediately drawn in by the noisiness of it all. Ooh, are those real horns? Excellent. The surf guitar is great. The vocals are the weakest link here I'd say. You've got a wall-of-sound kind of thing going on, and everything's very mid-rangey, so the vocals get buried. They're a little hard to follow at times, mainly when you're singing low in the verses. I like the harmony on "baby." Overall I'd like to hear a slightly less busy (or dryer) arrangement/mix. Man, the horn stabs and the way the run counter the vocals in the chorus ("in for the kill") are awesome. The instrumental breaks go on too long, especially the minute-plus in the middle of the song. I want more bass in my face. I played this through a quick-and-dirty V-shaped EQ and it sounded much cleaner.

<b>Contaminated Land Team</b> - I quite like this. The drums sound great, chugging bass line, clear vocals. The "we waste so much time on petty things" part is my favorite. I guess my main complaint with this song is that I'm waiting for it to kick things up a notch, for the hook, for the Big Dumb Chorus, or something. The "petty things" part is the closest we get to a hook, but it comes at the end of a lot of other stuff that doesn't vary much. The singer doesn't seem to be sure what the melody is in the verses. I can kinda sense what you're going for chord- and melody-wise, but with the bass and vocals wandering a bit it's not wholly clear. Not sure about the line "chin is the window of my soul." Maybe I'm hearing "chin" wrong. The "vast distances" verse is a little wordy. The solo break after the first chorus is quite nice. I like that guitar tone. Bonus points for the synths at the end. Overall, this song has a lot going for it, but it never kicks it up a notch or changes enough to really hold my interest.

<b>Ross Durand</b> - Ah, thank you for the chorus. Nice variation in the song, from the verse to the chorus to the break. There's a little clipping on some of the "HALF-hearted" vocals. I was just about to say the lyrics were feeling stale when you threw in that the suicide attempt was half-hearted too. Nice twist. Decent song, but nothing that outright grabs me.

<b>Sorry, Brad</b> - Instrumentals on SF strike me as a cop-out. That said, I kinda dig this. The world can always use more wah-wah clav. Some nice synth textures in there, too. This reminds me of "The National Anthem" by Radiohead. I want more bass and harder-hitting drums. The bass's high-end is dominating, and I want something more booty-shaking. And the drums feel like they're just kind of back there, where they should be coming down like a brick wall. I dunno, I like what you've got, but it needs more edge.

<b>The Voice Inside Your Head</b> - The second part is quite a surprise after the mellow-ish intro. The second part is just so fast and erratic it's hard to grab onto anything. I suspect that's the point, though, so it's working. It certainly evokes a creepy, "Voice inside your head" vibe. My song came on right after yours, which was quite a switch in style. :)

<b>Michael Maas (me)</b> - As I mentioned in the prefight thread I wrote and recorded this in two hours fifteen minutes Thursday night. It's a little sloppy, esp. in the piano, and the mix isn't quite where I'd like it (not bright enough, esp. the drums). But I'm psyched about it considering the timeline. Also, my MP3 ended up way bigger than I intended. I'll check my encoder settings next time. Sorry, gods of SF bandwidth.

Oh, and Niveous I hate the word "blog" too. It fit the character so well, though.

My vote will probably go to Contaminated Land Team or Joanie Loves Chachkies. Nice fight.
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Re: Reviews

Post by TheWilsonHeightsGang »

maasman wrote:I'm not sure what the story is even after a couple listens; I feel like I'm just overhearing a conversation between people I don't know. Which is fine, but if you're wanting me to feel for Sylvia or the singer I'm not connecting.
I felt like I was listening to an intervention for a woman named Sylvia Gorst. It seems like her problem is that she's a horrible person who talks shit about everybody. The word "Oblique" means abusive language and "obliques" is its plural, so it would make sense for somebody to be trying to talk some sense into a person who would say such things.

That's what I get from it. This week was a very good songfight!
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Post by jb »

<b>Contaminated Land Team</b> nice job!

"We live too fast without burning bright."

Great line.

Makes me think of a sloppier Smiths. Sloppy in a good way.
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Re: Reviews

Post by maasman »

TheWilsonHeightsGang wrote:"obliques"
Obliques! That makes sense. I thought I was probably just hearing it wrong.
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Post by Stubby Phillips »

While I listen I write some thoughts about the music, and some nonsense. It's therapeutic, okay?

Danyer:
This is better than most of the lazy chants I hear that pass for rap. Your percussion beats the hell out of the '808' sound, and that bass thing is a nice alternative to the usual low frequency sine waves -- though it gets a little old. I liked Danyer's blather more than the other dude's, even if I could only catch every fourth word.

Janie Loves Chachkies:
I think the mix is right for the vocals: the woman is louder and should be, as the guy's voice is too plaintive or too spoken. Actual harmonies would have helped -- or maybe not. The playing is OK, but the sound is kinda dull and noisy (hiss). Not what I listen to, given a choice.

Sorry, Brad:
Well, that's an interesting take on the title. A half-hearted stab at making a 'song'? OK, it's interesting here and there, but the interest depends too much on the sound of the instrument, and too little on the playing of the instrument. This just seems like rythymic noises going nowhere. A common situation nowdays. Not into ecstacy... Sorry, Brad. Sounds like a nice workstation, though.

TVIYH:
By the time I start to get a handle on this, it's into the feedback solo and then it's over. Don't really know what you said -- if anything. This should have had a solo with some more fretting in it. To sporatic drums. And a little longer.

Steve Durand:
Nice Beach Boys feel. Maybe this is what they would have sounded like if they had started out 10 years later. Good horns, and I didn't notice the drums too much, so they were probably clean (and/or low). Guitar and bass could be tighter. Low vox. Sounds like it was recorded live in a bowling alley. On a Tuesday.

Michael Maas:
The lyric is cool. Nice piano, but too distant. Keyboard bass not too bad. OK mix. Good voice. Better than ribs on rye.

BMFC:
A pithy little story about actions and consequences. Musically speaking, it offers no surprises, except that it's tolerable. Engaging, even -- to some small degree.

Contaminated Land Team:
I like the words, man. And the drums. And that synth at the end is sick! But the guitar needs something -- maybe a little stereo spread or something. The vox is good most of the time.

Ross Durand:
'Piano Man' turned into' Waitress Girl', with a little 'Mr. Bojangles' thrown in for good measure. Good voice as usual. And guitar -- but kinda low in the mix. Pretty good lyrics. I would have liked one of those refrains to go longer with some psuedo-random observations about her condition.

Don't know who gets my vote. Probably CLT or MM or somebody else.
Last edited by Stubby Phillips on Thu Jun 15, 2006 8:30 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by j$ »

Hmmm moments of tasty goodness in all these songs, but nothing that immediately jumps out and screams 'vote for me, fucker' but i liked it nonetheless ...

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Post by Steve Durand »

j$ wrote: Steve Durand – . (note: I say trumpets, for all I know they could be Cors Anglais)
Of course they're trumpets. (and a trombone, too) Cor Anglais is a reed intrument, kind of like an oboe. Doesn't sound similar at all.

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Post by Eric Y. »

Stubby Phillips wrote:Don't really know what you said -- if anything. This should have had a solo with some fretting in it.
lyric archive: http://songfight.net/forums/viewtopic.php?p=60869#60869
i agree about the solo; the new version will have one. thank you.
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Post by furrypedro »

Sorry Brad: This ain't bad, I quite like the groove and it goes through a few changes, though none of them are groundbreaking. The main reason I'm not really into this is that for an instrumental it doesn't have enough atmosphere; I'd rather it was either more ambient and mellow or denser with interleaving melodies and rhythmic changes. It doesn't go down any of these routes and suffers for it. Oh yeah, vocals would have done the trick (of course) but I'd rather have heard you do those other things.

TVIYH:
That bassline is pretty good and so much more could have been done with it; you could have based a whole song around it but then it sounds like you get bored and dub some napalm death on the end to fill it out. The point? I don't know. it's different, but the only reason I might ever listen ot it again would be to steal the bassline.

Danyer: Why the hell would you listen to Shaggy when you're sad? The Midi-ness of this is a put off obviously but some of the lines here are great (on a juvenile level :wink: ) and if I remember I'm gonna play this one to a few of my friends. We always appreciate a) 'cunt' being used in a song b) nefarious comments about little girls. how low can you go?

BMFC: "On a rope, On a rope!" I'll be voting for this as long as something shithot doesn't appear soon.

Michael Maas: This immediately strikes me as being a bit soft and schmaltzy for my tastes, BUT I love the way it shuffles along, and the opening line "I already know which bridge I'll throw your body off" is brilliant, easily worthy of a Mountain Goats comparison. Really solid melody, and it's pretty short which makes me want to listen again instead of moving on.......mmm, good stuff.

Contaminated Land Team: Plat and I. I like the drum sound. the "chin" line is a reference to Bill Bailey's comments on Margaret Thatcher's distrust of bearded men. Thanks for your comments so far.
j$ wrote:CLT – Yup - ‘London Scene’ right back at ya.
This one had me scratching my head

Ross: Pretty nice. There are a few lines which don't seem to sit perfectly, I guess after a few more listens they'll start to sound more natural. Otherwise there's nothing wrong with this

Joanie loves Chachkies: I'm digging this from the opening bars, the violin/uke(?) intro is lovely. Vocally I'm reminded of the Softies which is a good thing. Reminds me also of Glenn and Rachael's 'Need Stilts' but more sombre. Oooh possibly vote, definitely a keeper

Steve
goes Rock! and surfrock too, the best kind. This mix sounds like a piece of crap, your vocals are struggling more than usual, being buried under a fairly dense arrangement. Apart from that it's okay though, I quite like the song, great brass, and I love the bass solo. The guitar solo isn't so great, but it's mainly fidelity that brings this down and that's not a big deal.

top 3: Michael Maas, Big Mountain Fudge Cake, J loves C
I'll decide who to vote for in a day or two
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Post by j$ »

furrypedro wrote:This one had me scratching my head
furrypedro, Nov 12 2005 wrote:Johnny Cashpoint - This could be Art Brut, which could be a good thing but personally I'm slightly tired of that whole London sound. Having said that I really like the screachy guitars, lyrics, and arrangement in general. good but not my thing.
I never forget - seemed to me this time round this review could apply back again. Although obviosuly if I had quoted you correctly it might have been easier to get the reference, I guess!

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Post by j$ »

sdurand wrote:
j$ wrote: Steve Durand – . (note: I say trumpets, for all I know they could be Cors Anglais)
Of course they're trumpets. (and a trombone, too) Cor Anglais is a reed intrument, kind of like an oboe. Doesn't sound similar at all.

Steve
Yeah, that was my point. I can't tell the difference between brass, reed and thumb piano, so any comments made by me on the subject are probably not very useful.
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Post by furrypedro »

Wow, that must have been my 1st ever review!
and it was partly the product of me being an ignorant noob
and just wrong about the whole Art Brut/London thing cos they're actually cool.

I openly admit to imitating Mates of State for this track
which NME (for, as you pointed out, it is they who perpetuate the 'London scene') bands sound like this again? I haven't read it since Morrissey was on the cover.
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Post by Stubby Phillips »

tviyh wrote:
Stubby Phillips wrote:Don't really know what you said -- if anything. This should have had a solo with some fretting in it.
lyric archive: http://songfight.net/forums/viewtopic.php?p=60869#60869
i agree about the solo; the new version will have one. thank you.
I have to admit... I've been a lazy fuck when it comes to checking the lyric archive. Your lyrics are great! Efficient and bent. And, of course, the song is 200% cooler when you hear THE WHOLE SONG! Duh. Thanks for opening my eyes.
Uh... this doesn't necessarily mean that I'll ever check again...
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Post by nyjm »

dipping back into the review pool b/c doctoral research is wearying...

contaminated land team
+++ bass tone and groove +++
+++ lyrical hook and concept +++
/// the organs are an interesting idea, but i would have gone with something that more tonally matches the bass grumble ///
--- vox lack punch and focus ---

TVIYH
/// this would make an interesting hidden track or some kind of segue, one of those cool little musical sketches ///

sorry brad
+++ atmospherics in the beginning +++
+++ bass line +++
--- not a song ---

michael maas
+++ what a great opening! +++
+++ i really like the incongruity of the happy tone and the dire lyrics +++
/// you need to build more tension before the bridge ///

joanie loves chachkies
+++ guitar tone and rhythm +++
--- the dual vox could be pretty, but they end up just being grating ---
/// the country/folk instrumentation does really do much for this song; it could be anything, pianos and guitars or a choir ///

ross durand
/// this whole song strikes right down the middle: great production, great recording, i always like your voice. but, the story is rather trite and there's nothing stand-out in the arrangement. a well-put-together GnG song, but that's still a hell of a lot better than 90% of what's on the radio. ///
+++ i really like the dual guitar parts; they hit all the right harmonies +++

big mountain fudge cake
+++ awesome riff +++
--- terrible singing ---
--- stupid vocals ---

danyer
/// i appreciate the cleverness of the lyrics, but otherwise i find this song unremarkable. ///

steve durand
+++ this is just all around awesome, allow me to enumerate: +++
+++ guitar tone and riff +++
+++ wall o' sound horns +++
+++ i even like the slightly-buried vox +++
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Post by bigmountainfudgecake »

Contaminated Land Team has been awarded the coveted BMFC vote this week for the crafy use of the fart-o-matic bassline.
It's <a href=http://www.bigmountainfudgecake.com/>Big Mountain Fudge Cake</a>, bitch.
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Post by mr_lostman »

newb reviews:

Big Mountain Fudge Cake: short and sweet. That voice made me laugh. Nice guitar sound. Can't really vote for this cauce its so short but well recorded.

Contaminated Land Team: "we waste so much time on petty things"... nice lyrics. Great keyboard line at the end. Very catchy. I liked it a lot. Vote possiblity.

Danyer: totally nasty grime rap. "I think her names craig"? hahah :lol: Okay i originally didnt want to like this cause its so messed up lyically and the beat is pretty simple. But god its funny. alright genius dumb rap... if that makes sense. thanks for makin me laugh.

Janie Loves Chachkies: oohhhh strings... really likin this folky feel. Rockin this violin. I'm gonna say this is a possible vote because im a sucker for the boy/girl folk duos.

Micheal Maas: Another fun entry. Good drums and piano work. Nice balance of everything in the mix.

Ross Durand: The fight needed a nice slow down song... but this isnt very interesting. Your voice and the guitar fit well together.... but nothing really grabbing.

Sorry Brad: Ooooo... rock intro... rumblin bass.... what is that? :? .... wierd funk guitar.... hmm.... okay. Alright starting to realize this is an instrumental.... was really hopin for a bit more based on the intro. It all fits together well... and i liked that horn thing right there, but im a guy who needs lyrics to get a song.

Steve Durand: Lovin this. The guitar intro kinda sounded like me tryin to play surf guitar... which isnt a good thing. But the vocals really saved it. Very fun stuff. The horns are great. The break in the middle is kinda like something The Auquabats would do. This is gonna be a vote possiblity.

woops.... forgot this one earlier... my bad..
The Voice Inisde Your Head: love the bass intro... waitin for it to go somewhere.... whoa... where the hell did we go? That was unexpected.... no clue what your saying.... are those vocals backwards?

Alright, wow what a great fight. I dont know who im votin for yet but Steve Durand, Joanie Loves Chachkie, and Contaminate LAnd Team are sure in the running. I'm probably gonna go with Contaminated Land Team cause I actually still remember the chorus.
Last edited by mr_lostman on Sat Jun 17, 2006 4:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"I can't hear a thing,
'cause I've stopped listening!"
-BNL
thegreathal
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Post by thegreathal »

contaminated land team--Decent song, going okay-did-did you just say tit? Like, twice?

Ross Durand was okay. I didn't like much here, not sure who won it.
--thegreathal
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