BILL LASWELL

Dub/Ska/Reggae / Jazz Related Electronica/Hip-Hop / Jazz Related Soundtracks / Jazz Related Improv/Composition / Eclectic Fusion / World Fusion / Post-Fusion Contemporary / Funk • United States
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With over 25 years of experience as a touring musician and composer and over 700 albums to his credit, producer and bassist Bill Laswell has collaborated with some of the most illustrious names in music across all genres and boundaries, including Buckethead, Herbie Hancock, Mick Jagger, Laurie Anderson, Pharoah Sanders, Yoko Ono, Iggy Pop, The Last Poets, Buddy Miles, George Clinton, Bootsy Collins, Afrika Bambaataa, Tony Williams, Public Image Ltd., Peter Gabriel and countless others. He has also organized and produced recordings with master musicians from around the world, having logged extensive travel in Morocco and West Africa, India, Japan, Cuba, Australia, Brazil, and numerous other locations throughout Asia, Africa and South America. In the United States and abroad, his name has become synonymous with a commitment to creativity, integrity and daring -- whether in the recording studio or on stage -- that has earned him the respect (and often read more...
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BILL LASWELL Discography

BILL LASWELL albums / top albums

BILL LASWELL Baselines album cover 4.62 | 4 ratings
Baselines
Dub/Ska/Reggae 1983
BILL LASWELL Hear No Evil album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Hear No Evil
World Fusion 1988
BILL LASWELL Niels & The New York Street Percussionists album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Niels & The New York Street Percussionists
Eclectic Fusion 1990
BILL LASWELL Axiom Ambient - Lost In The Translation album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Axiom Ambient - Lost In The Translation
Dub/Ska/Reggae 1994
BILL LASWELL Outer Dark album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Outer Dark
Dub/Ska/Reggae 1994
BILL LASWELL Silent Recoil: Dub System One album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Silent Recoil: Dub System One
Dub/Ska/Reggae 1995
BILL LASWELL Web (with Terre Thaemlitz) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Web (with Terre Thaemlitz)
Dub/Ska/Reggae 1995
BILL LASWELL Sacred System Chapter One: Book of Entrance album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Sacred System Chapter One: Book of Entrance
Dub/Ska/Reggae 1996
BILL LASWELL Oscillations album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Oscillations
Jazz Related Electronica/Hip-Hop 1996
BILL LASWELL City of Light album cover 4.25 | 2 ratings
City of Light
Dub/Ska/Reggae 1997
BILL LASWELL Sacred System: Chapter Two album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Sacred System: Chapter Two
Dub/Ska/Reggae 1997
BILL LASWELL Dub Meltdown album cover 4.00 | 2 ratings
Dub Meltdown
Dub/Ska/Reggae 1997
BILL LASWELL Oscillations (Remixes) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Oscillations (Remixes)
Jazz Related Electronica/Hip-Hop 1997
BILL LASWELL Meridiem (with Fred Frith, Charles Hayward, Percy Howard) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Meridiem (with Fred Frith, Charles Hayward, Percy Howard)
Dub/Ska/Reggae 1998
BILL LASWELL Sacred System: Nagual Site album cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
Sacred System: Nagual Site
Dub/Ska/Reggae 1998
BILL LASWELL Jazzonia album cover 4.00 | 2 ratings
Jazzonia
Dub/Ska/Reggae 1998
BILL LASWELL Oscillations 2 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Oscillations 2
Jazz Related Electronica/Hip-Hop 1998
BILL LASWELL Permutation album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Permutation
Dub/Ska/Reggae 1998
BILL LASWELL Hashisheen: The End of Law album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Hashisheen: The End of Law
Dub/Ska/Reggae 1999
BILL LASWELL Imaginary Cuba album cover 4.33 | 3 ratings
Imaginary Cuba
Dub/Ska/Reggae 1999
BILL LASWELL Invisible Design album cover 4.67 | 3 ratings
Invisible Design
Dub/Ska/Reggae 1999
BILL LASWELL Broken Vessels album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Broken Vessels
Jazz Related Soundtracks 1999
BILL LASWELL Emerald Aether: Shape Shifting album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Emerald Aether: Shape Shifting
Dub/Ska/Reggae 2000
BILL LASWELL Lo. Def Pressure album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Lo. Def Pressure
Dub/Ska/Reggae 2000
BILL LASWELL Dub Chamber 3 album cover 3.52 | 2 ratings
Dub Chamber 3
Dub/Ska/Reggae 2000
BILL LASWELL Points of Order (aka Cyclops) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Points of Order (aka Cyclops)
Dub/Ska/Reggae 2001
BILL LASWELL Book of Exit: Dub Chamber 4 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Book of Exit: Dub Chamber 4
Dub/Ska/Reggae 2002
BILL LASWELL Sussan Deyhim & Bill Laswell : Shy Angels (Reconstruction and Mix Translation of 0.00 | 0 ratings
Sussan Deyhim & Bill Laswell : Shy Angels (Reconstruction and Mix Translation of "Madman of God" by Bill Laswell)
Dub/Ska/Reggae 2002
BILL LASWELL Aftermathematics Instrumental: Rhythm and Recurrence album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Aftermathematics Instrumental: Rhythm and Recurrence
Dub/Ska/Reggae 2003
BILL LASWELL Version 2 Version: A Dub Transmission album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Version 2 Version: A Dub Transmission
Dub/Ska/Reggae 2004
BILL LASWELL Bill Laswell Vs Submerged ‎: Brutal Calling album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Bill Laswell Vs Submerged ‎: Brutal Calling
Jazz Related Improv/Composition 2004
BILL LASWELL Bill Laswell vs. Submerged : Brutal Calling album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Bill Laswell vs. Submerged : Brutal Calling
Jazz Related Electronica/Hip-Hop 2004
BILL LASWELL In Praise Of Shadows album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
In Praise Of Shadows
Jazz Related Improv/Composition 2008
BILL LASWELL Invisible Design II album cover 4.25 | 2 ratings
Invisible Design II
Dub/Ska/Reggae 2009
BILL LASWELL Means of Deliverance album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Means of Deliverance
Post-Fusion Contemporary 2012
BILL LASWELL Tuwaqachi: The Fourth World album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Tuwaqachi: The Fourth World
Jazz Related Soundtracks 2012
BILL LASWELL Kauai : The Arch Of Heaven album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Kauai : The Arch Of Heaven
World Fusion 2014
BILL LASWELL In Dub album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
In Dub
Dub/Ska/Reggae 2015
BILL LASWELL Barton Rage - Bill Laswell ‎: Realm I album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Barton Rage - Bill Laswell ‎: Realm I
Jazz Related Electronica/Hip-Hop 2015
BILL LASWELL Masahiro Shimba & Bill Laswell : Dubopera album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Masahiro Shimba & Bill Laswell : Dubopera
Dub/Ska/Reggae 2015
BILL LASWELL Bill Laswell & Hideo Yamaki With Josh Werner : Emergency Broadcast System album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Bill Laswell & Hideo Yamaki With Josh Werner : Emergency Broadcast System
Dub/Ska/Reggae 2018

BILL LASWELL EPs & splits

BILL LASWELL Bass Terror (with  Nicholas James Bullen) album cover 2.00 | 2 ratings
Bass Terror (with Nicholas James Bullen)
Dub/Ska/Reggae 1994
BILL LASWELL Bilmawn - Little Village album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Bilmawn - Little Village
Jazz Related Soundtracks 2015
BILL LASWELL Bass Culture album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Bass Culture
Dub/Ska/Reggae 2015
BILL LASWELL Bill Laswell & Ira Cohen ‎: On Brion Gysin album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Bill Laswell & Ira Cohen ‎: On Brion Gysin
Jazz Related Improv/Composition 2015
BILL LASWELL Bill Laswell & Hideo Yamaki ‎: Untaken Path album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Bill Laswell & Hideo Yamaki ‎: Untaken Path
Jazz Related Improv/Composition 2015
BILL LASWELL Funkcronomic album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Funkcronomic
Funk 2016

BILL LASWELL live albums

BILL LASWELL SXL Live In Japan album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
SXL Live In Japan
Dub/Ska/Reggae 1987
BILL LASWELL SXL: Into The Outlands album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
SXL: Into The Outlands
Eclectic Fusion 1988
BILL LASWELL Bill Laswell/ Tatsuya Nakamura/Hideo Yamaki : Bass & Drums album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Bill Laswell/ Tatsuya Nakamura/Hideo Yamaki : Bass & Drums
Dub/Ska/Reggae 2011
BILL LASWELL One World Music (Live in Milano 2012) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
One World Music (Live in Milano 2012)
Dub/Ska/Reggae 2012

BILL LASWELL demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

BILL LASWELL re-issues & compilations

BILL LASWELL Deconstruction: The Celluloid Recordings album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Deconstruction: The Celluloid Recordings
Dub/Ska/Reggae 1993
BILL LASWELL Ambient Compendium album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Ambient Compendium
Dub/Ska/Reggae 1996
BILL LASWELL Filmtracks 2000 album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Filmtracks 2000
Dub/Ska/Reggae 2001
BILL LASWELL Final Oscillations album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Final Oscillations
Dub/Ska/Reggae 2003
BILL LASWELL ROIR Dub Sessions album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
ROIR Dub Sessions
Dub/Ska/Reggae 2003
BILL LASWELL Aspiration album cover 2.00 | 2 ratings
Aspiration
Dub/Ska/Reggae 2011

BILL LASWELL singles (1)

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Bill Laswell's Bilmawn : Little Village
Jazz Related Soundtracks 2014

BILL LASWELL movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

BILL LASWELL Reviews

BILL LASWELL Hear No Evil

Album · 1988 · World Fusion
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js
“Hear No Evil” comes fairly early in Bill Laswell’s career as it is only his second solo album apart from his band, Material. Of course Bill would go on to release about another 50 million albums, but that’s a subject for another review, at this point in his career he was still taking some time with his albums. Back in the day “Hear No Evil” seemed somewhat profound in its somber ambient atmosphere and cultural mixtures, and its still a good album, but as the years have passed, it doesn’t have quite the same impact as it once did. For one thing, albums that feature cultural hodge-podges are much more common now, as well as records that feature ambience with a rhythmic groove.

At his very best, Bill Laswell can produce an almost religious sobering atmosphere filled with vague longing that is a skill at which he alone excels at. “Hear No Evil” is probably one of the first albums in which Bill displayed this talent, and on here he looks to southern US delta blues for the inspiration for his mournful and lonely melodies. Both Bill and guitarist Nicky Skopelitis play a lot of laid back slide work on here, which they then mix with Asiatic influences. Three percussionists, including Zakir Hussain, provide the percussion, but they are somewhat hemmed in by fairly standard Western time signatures. Indian fusion violinist, Shankar provides excellent solos that match with Bill’s background perfectly. Along with the somewhat straight rhythmic grounding, the other main fault with this album is the almost pop structure of the songs, which can push things in a new age direction.

There is one track that doesn’t quite fit, and that’s the clumsy funk of “Assassin”, take it out and you have a better album. The best tracks are the last two, and on the finale, “Kingdom Come”, the percussionists finally get a chance to go off. This album’s appeal can change with your mood, need some music for reflection, put this on, sometimes it almost seems to have the same impact it had back in the late 80s.

BILL LASWELL Bass Terror (with Nicholas James Bullen)

Split · 1994 · Dub/Ska/Reggae
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js
In the early 90s, breakthroughs in digital technology caused the cost of professional recording equipment to drop drastically to the point that almost anyone with a steady gig could get a digital recorder, something to loop or create beats with and a CD burner and become a one person recording studio and CD production company. This increase in easy homemade product led to an increased interest in digitally produced beat oriented electronic music, or what became known as “electronica”. Some of this music was interesting at first, but soon this world of easy access and production fielded endless repetitive and simple homemade beats and sounds. When I first bought Bill Laswell and Nicholas Bullen’s CD, “Bass Terror”, back in the day, it was a mildly interesting piece of electro fluff, but it soon proved to be the tip of the iceberg for tons of other quickly slapped together projects put together by thousands of artists around the world.

“Bass Terror” isn’t a terrible CD, and may prove interesting to some, but revisiting it makes you realize how quickly this sort of quick-n-easy project became antiquated. For a little background, this CD is not a joint effort, but instead includes one track by Bill Laswell, a pre-electronica leader in self-made product, and two tracks by Nicholas Bullen, who helped create grindcore with his bandmates in Napalm Death. The title, “Bass Terror”, is misleading as there is nothing particularly scary going on here unless you are afraid to fall asleep.

The lengthy opening track by Laswell opens up okay with a fun groovy bass riff backed with a drumnbass looped track that sounds ancient by today’s standards. Bill dubs in some Bootsy style flanged pops on the bass and this track has its moments in a kitsch retro kind of way but soon wanders into rambling preacher samples and ambient drift. Southern preachers may be amusing to a “sophisticated” New Yorker like Laswell, but its fairly mundane and un-amusing to those from a less “cosmopolitan” background.

The two following tracks by Bullen alternate repetitive slow simple sluggish hip-hop/rock unchanging four beat loops with quiet industrial ambient dronish noise. The quiet noise sections are well done, and I would imagine the beats were made dull and simple on purpose, but still, those kind of repeating four beat patterns became both overdone and obsolete very quickly.

BILL LASWELL Dub Chamber 3

Album · 2000 · Dub/Ska/Reggae
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js
Bill Laswell’s “Dub Chamber 3” was the third installment in Bill’s ongoing “Sacred System” series. Bill’s approach to dub music has not always brought an enthusiastic response from hardcore fans of the genre. Although Laswell’s music has the nice sounds and all the pretty outer trappings of a modern dub recording, the real meat and potatoes of dub-wise rhythms and melodies are not here. Instead, what we have on “Dub Chamber 3” is more of a trip-hop, ambient down-tempo bass-heavy groove topped with perfectly timed electronics, long trumpet tones and occasional funky Fender Rhodes. When taken as a dub influenced trip-hop piece, this CD stands out in a field dominated with mediocrity and boring repetition. Call it what you like, there is some very nice music on here, and far more musical development than your average down-tempo disc.

Laswell assembled an all-star cast for this recording, including some major pioneers in the world of dub influenced nu jazz including; Nils Petter Molvaer on trumpet, Nicky Skopelitis on guitar and the great Jah Wobble on bass on one cut. Craig Taborn’s occasional short electric piano solos also help add interest. The first two cuts are built around somewhat repetitious and common sounding hip-hop drum loops, but are layered with some very imaginative soundscapes. On the third cut, “Devil Syndrome”, the rhythm goes into a double time drive that seems at odds with the rest of the CD. From a rhythmic standpoint, the best cut is the fourth and lengthy closer, “A Screaming Comes Across the Sky”. On this one Laswell breaks out an old school drum machine and programs some very interesting and odd broken up sparse beats that ramble on forever while the music goes through some very interesting changes. Too bad all of the tracks on this CD could not be as musical as this one, its a gem.

Although some of the rhythms on here may seem a bit pedestrian to hardcore dub fans, the sounds and musical phrases layered on these beats are top notch. Bill is a master of the studio and his effects are perfectly timed to build a careful ambient atmosphere that often has a somber and almost religious feel to it. Much credit should also go to the beautiful guitar playing of Nicky Skopelitis, a major pioneer in today’s atmospheric approach to guitar. Nu jazz trumpet ace Nils Petter Molvaer is a natural for Laswell’s sense of timing and texture, and his long mournful tones add to the mix on two cuts.

Fans of trip-hop, ambient down-tempo and early nu jazz will find a lot to like here, this disc is far more interesting than most, and the closing cut is a masterpiece of the genre. Fans of Laswell’s work in this area may also want to check out “Hallucination Engine”, possibly Bill’s best album in this style. Those who are using this as a gateway to true dub music will want to check out the late 70s recordings of King Tubby, Scientist and Prince Jammy.

BILL LASWELL Dub Meltdown

Album · 1997 · Dub/Ska/Reggae
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Matt
There is not much that Bill Laswell has not had a shot at. Rock, Funk, Ambient, Punk, Jazz, World Fusion, Cuban, Celtic, Spoken Word and the list goes on but like most gentlemen with an appreciation for good music he has a real penchant for Reggae but he prefers the Dub primarily due to it electronics, as well being one hell of a great place to really thump up your electric bass with room shattering effects. 1996 was the year of this Drum n' Bass extravaganza named "Dub Meltdown" which was released by Word Sound Recordings with their main man for tha label under the pseudonym of "The Eye", doing what the album states as chronic/ sounds/ pressure which is most likely adding lots of those little electronic touches. The Eye is actually "Skiz" Fernando Jr and an old friend of Bill's and Bill actually back in 1993 gave Skiz a thousand bucks to get his new Word Sound label going with recently a dedicated new vinyl hip hop label "Black Hoodz" added to his music resume recently. The actual main man though for the album is the addition of Style Scott on drums, yes that one from Adrian Sherwood's ON-U Sound label and the man behind Dub Syndicate. Style Scott was originally a member of The Roots Radics who did many a studio session back in Jamacia in the early 1980's. The two other musicians listed are Capt. Kowatchi on percussion and Prof. Shehab placing his samples. Bill Laswell also not only plays glorious pounding bass but is adding Loops and fx programming and also doing seven of the eight track's mixing with Prof Shehab mixing only the one "Aeon".

Eight great hypnotic, thumping numbers are within the album "Dub Meltdown" with "Crooklyn Dub Syndicate" coming in first with that distinct Reggae electronic echo over the rythmn but soon all those electronic noises are injected with who I presume to be Style Scott adding fragments of spoken word within the dub which also has the addition of beautiful booming bass from Bill's guitar and the foundation of Style Scott's drumming which has been only slightly touched over with electronics as this could have gone through the mixing board or he could have used either triggers on his drum kit but one thing he keeps a beautiful spaced time right throughout this tune, "Crooklyn Dub Syndicate". The next is "Fourth Column", Style Scott's drum workout with some brilliant stuff from Style and more devastating bass booming from Bill with an injection of loops and electronic sounds at various times throughout the dub which keeps Style Scott's drums at the fore right throughout. "Aeon" is the only dub not mixed on the album by Bill Laswell but Prof Shehab who gives us the Doctor Who synth sound at the begining of this slow hypnotic pounder and this is one great mix that just seeps right through you in that great dub hypnotisng method. The fourth track is my favourite dub perhaps due to its slightly faster time or is it the sound of electronic sirens placed throughout but "Emergency At The Plant" sounds just like that with the electronics additions over some great drum n' bass. Still another four fabulous dubs to be played on the album with "A Greater Source Of Power" being being the pick with it's cock crowing introduction and the addition of tablas from Capt. Kowtachi mixed in with all those spoken word echo's, electronic effects and the glorious drum n' bass from Bill and Style over this wicked riddim.

Bill Laswell is musically a Forest Gump box of chocolates as you do never know what you are going to get but here we did not pick the ginger one but one with caramel and nuts by that I mean not so the music styles but my comprehension for the music from all the albums that Bill Laswell has created with varying degrees of listenability as some to be honest I think are dreadful while others I rate close to masterpiece status but one thing whatever Bill Laswell does it has his originality stamp on the production and I myself are always curious to hear what he has created next. This for me is one of Bill's better ones and cudo's must go to Style Scott from Dub Syndicate. If you are interested and enjoyed this album I highly recommend Dub Syndicates albums "Stoned Immaculate" from 1991 and "Echomania" from 1993 with both being on Adrian Sherwood's label, On-U Sound. Great music.

BILL LASWELL Aspiration

Boxset / Compilation · 2011 · Dub/Ska/Reggae
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Matt
It looks like Bill has headed back to the ambient side with his latest production "Aspiration" which is on the label Metastation Records who actually specialise in world, electronic and ambient music, they do say yoga as well but I cannot see you doing the twist to this brand spanking new production. Bill Laswell has done a few with Metastation records in the past with the majority being "Asana" which were Bill's yoga albums which are Indian influenced to a degree but ambience is the main drone (pardon the pun) and are compilations from previous productions except number 4. The artists involved with the writing in " Aspiration" are Bill Laswell who wrote four of the six compositions with Alice Coltrane providing the second "Bliss: The Eternal Now" and the last one on the album is by Pharoah Saunders which is "Peace In Essaouira" and dedicated to Sonny Sharrock ( guitar) who was one of Bill's band regulars till 1994 when he passed away. We have a very impressive list of muscians who particapated but only Nicky Skopelitis is appearing in two comopositions and only plays guitar on one and assists Bill on the last track by Pharoah Saunders with percussion.The rest only appear on one track each and they include, Nils Petter Molvaer on trumpet, Carlos Santana, guitar, Sussan Deyhim, vocals and co-writer with Bill, Bootsie Collins, bass, Pharoah Saunders, tenor saxophone. Bernie Worrell, electric piano and organ and even the Dalai Lama gets his bit in on the 2nd last tune. First up with all these contributions you would expect a bit of good jazz but alas this really is not the case as things remain ambient for the majority of the album. There are beats on two of the tracks and although another starts that way it heads back to ambient drift quickly. The music is suitable for yoga and maybe you should have the incense stencher smouldering as well but things go nowhere and the compositions just drag along.

The best is first with all thanks going to Nils Petter Molvaer on trumpet who with Zakir Hussain on tabla give the composition a superb laid back feel. Bill's bass is booming on "Pattabhi Jois" and Nils blows a lovely low tone with the tablas giving the tune a great texture as well as Bill's bass. Alice Coltrane makes her appearance in "Bliss: The Eternal Hour" on piano and harp which are her contribution with Carlos Santana providing guitar and Bill Laswell is doing reconstruction. There is some lovely accoustic guitar played by Santana with Alice adding piano and harp but when the harp arrives it just is not a good contrast straight after accoustic guitar and the track just falls off. "Searching For You' is Susan Deyhim's shot on vocals with ney ( flute), mediatation bells and Bill on bass and providing a little texture as well. It does not gel and seems lost between Iran and India with what is just drone. The albums next two tracks,"The Hidden Garden/Naima" and "Time" which is where we hear his Holiness the Dalai Lama are just more of the same. The last is where Pharoah Saunders basically plays a lone solo for the majority and he does sound great. Later in the composition Nicky and Bill provide percussion. Pharoah Saunders has a beautiful tone and he is a master on his instrument the tenor saxophone but why does he push it so hard at times that the notes are squawking out losing the atmosphere that he has created.

Fans and yoga only. I will stick with Chubby Checker though for my twistin'. Too much of the same and I did not hear one thing that I thought was new or different. Bill Laswell has done over 300 albums and sometimes he should go for quality and not quantity. I am sure he could make a total masterpiece and he has come close at times but not here.

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