Spiral Architect — “Purpose” (1995 Demo)

Spiral Architect — “Purpose” (1995 Demo)

Inmateria (2015): “The Flame on the Sea” and “The Problem of Evil” @inmateria_

Argentine-Chilean vocalist Solange Sosa is here to remind you that you can buy your own copy of Inmateria‘s excellent 2015 album here or here, or else listen to it in its entirety via online streaming.

Inmateria (2015):

“La llama en el Mar” (“The Flame On The Sea”)
1. Preludio (Instrumental) [01:54]
2. Lejos De Aquí [05:19]
3. Anormal [04:48]
4. La Inocencia (Instrumental) [02:48]
5. Fuera De Lugar [04:07]
6. En La Oscuridad [07:16]
7. La Búsqueda (Instrumental) [01:56]
8. Un Paso Atrás [03:57]
9. Flotar [07:01]
10. Epílogo (Instrumental) [02:58]

11. El Problema Del Mal [10:34]

New World Man: Dave Kerzner

New World Deluxe by Dave Kerzner

By Alan Dawes. Rating 10/10

Kerzner's debut solo album, NEW WORLD (deluxe).

Kerzner’s debut solo album, NEW WORLD (deluxe).

The standard version of New World was released last December, even though it was released so last in the year it had enough impact to finish in the top 10 albums for 2014 in Prog magazine readers poll. 

The deluxe version of this incredible album has just been released and I truly believe it should top the readers poll this year.  It would be an amazing achievement as it faces tough competition from Steven Wilson, Steve Hackett and David Gilmour.

For those of you unfamiliar with Mr Kerzner and this project, here is a brief history lesson.

Dave Kerzner first came to peoples notice as a member of Thud and then Giraffe which were both projects by the late, great Kevin Gilbert.  After Kevin’s untimely death, Dave continued to write songs but mainly spent his time working at his Sonic Reality company recording sound samples for keyboard software so if you want Nick Mason, Neil Peart, Keith Emerson and many others playing on your own material it is possible with SR  software.

A meeting with Simon Collins led the pair working together and eventually to the formation of Sound of Contact with Kelly Nordstrom and Matt Dorsey.  The band recorded Dimensionaut , which was released to critical acclaim  and the band went on to receive the best newcomer at last years prog awards.   Upon returning home after The Night Of The Prog festival in Germany, Dave set about writing new material.  It didn’t really come as a major surprise when it was revealed that he had left SoC.

After spending a few months writing and recording demo’s it was time to put a band together and set about creating his debut solo album.  A kickstarter campaign was created on 27th June to try any raise $17.000 to fund the album by 6th August.  The backers responded and nearly double the required amount was raised in the required time.

Dave recruited his old Thud bandmate Nick D’Virgilio on Drums and another friend Fernando “The Fretmeister”Perdomo on guitars.  They were soon joined by several guest artists.  

New World is a concept album that follows the story of “The Traveller” a man stranded in a vast desert after his ship has crashed and his journey to safety. I won’t go into the full details of how this journey progresses.  I think if you gave the story outline to a dozen sci-fi authors, you would end up with twelve completely different books. So listen to the music, look at the artwork and write your own story.

So why should I buy the deluxe version instead of the standard?  Well unlike most deluxe versions of albums this isn’t just the basic album with an extra cd thrown in with a few out takes and rough demos.

The deluxe version is an extension of the standard, the original 11 tracks are spread across the 2 CDs and another 12 tracks were added.  As a follower of the kickstarter campaign I know that 3 of these tracks were originally meant to be on the standard release. The extra tracks have enhanced what was already a superb album.

I think to get the best from this album, put on some headphones, crank the volume and enjoy this incredible cinematic masterpiece.

New World opens with an extended version of Stranded a five part epic that sets the scene for the album.  If this was a movie it would be shown as a series of flashbacks as The Traveller makes his way to safety. This track features A brilliant guitar solo from Steve Hackett and has backing vocals from Ana Cristina, Durga McBroom from Pink Floyd and Jason Scheff from Chicago.  I must mention part five The Darkness,  the vocal work on this part is amazing.

The recording sessions were still in progress when Dave was contacted by Keith Emerson to say that he was doing a radio show in the UK and that he wanted to play something from New World.  As Stranded was the song closest to being finished, Dave did a quick mix and the whole song was played on Planet Rock Radio.  After Dave’s initial mix he then took Stranded to Tom Lord-Alge to be re-mixed for the single release.

Next up is Into The Sun, once again extended from the standard release.  Colin Edwin plays fretless bass on this track and the wonderful Heather Findlay provides backing vocals.  The track builds in intensity throughout its nine minutes until Fernando Perdomo takes centre stage and unleashes a killer combination of solo and bass line.  The original plan was to finish with a keyboard solo, but the guitar work was just too good to ignore.  

The Lie is the first track on the album that I think could appeal to mainstream radio. At just over five minutes and with a really catchy chorus it isn’t too long.  This song features the core band of Kerzner, Perdomo and D’Vigilio

The Traveller is the first of the new tracks and features Dave on keyboards while Heather recites some lines from Into The Sun.

The Secret was originally pencilled in for the standard release.  It must have been an extremely hard decision to leave this out.  Songs this beautiful are a rarity.  Once again the song starts out calmly and builds in power throughout.  The slide guitar on this is stunning.

Reflection is another short piece which could compete with any chill out album you care to mention. Really nice orchestration on this track which leads into Under Control which is very powerful. Both of these tracks are just Dave on his own playing all the instruments. This one is perfect for all the paranoid people out there.

Premonition Suite is mainly instrumental.  The five parts link different parts of the album.  Dave shares the writing credits on this track with Francis Dunnery who provides killer guitar on part two Resilience 1.  It’s Dave’s turn for a solo on part four Altered State, sheer brilliance.

In The Garden is another work of art, beautifully written and performed.  I love the acoustic guitar on this track and the vocals from Durga McBroom are superb.  

The same can be said for the last two tracks on CD1, The Way Out and Recurring Dream are both excellent and could quite easily have been chosen for the standard release.  The vocal work on the last track is incredible.

CD2 opens with Biodome which is a short into track with David Longdon reciting part of New World.  This leads straight into the instrumental masterpiece Crossing Of Fates.

When Dave was recording Keith Emerson’s modular Moog for Sonic Reality, Keith played a solo part which Dave built this piece around.  This is keyboard heaven as Dave and Keith take turns to show their skills.  The rhythm section on this track is a change from the rest of the album.  Billy Sherwood was recruited on bass and drums are provided by Simon Phillips.

Theta is another instrumental with backing vocals by Durga and Maryam Tollar who has an amazing voice.  Also on board for this track is another musician from the days of Thud.  Satnam Ramgotra plays tabla which gives the track it’s mystical feel.  This leads into My Old Friend which is dedicated to Kevin Gilbert.  Once again Maryam provides stunning vocals.  Russ Parrish from Steel Panther sheds his Satchel persona to reunite with his Thud band mates and provide a blistering solo.

Ocean Of Stars wasn’t originally meant to be on the standard album but it couldn’t not be.  Everything about this track is perfect.  If the Grammy’s or Brits handed out awards for songwriting instead of just being a popularity contest between record companies, this would take some beating.

Solitude is vocal heaven.  They are provided by the beautiful songbirds from Aussie Floyd. Lorelei McBroom, Lara Smiles and Emily Lynn join the band for this chilled track. Drums are by Nick Mason via Sonic Reality.

Nothing is another song that could be played on mainstream radio.  Co-written with Fernando this has an ELO feel to it and I think it could be a big hit.  It features great solo’s from Dave and Fernando.

Erased is a short cinematic instrumental which leads into Realign.  Both this and the following instrumental Nexus were originally meant to be on the standard release.

The next track is New World and this is another contender for the songwriting awards.  The lyrics are sheer bloody poetry.  Francis Dunnery plays lead guitar and David Longdon does an excellent job with the backing vocals.

The album closes with Redemption (Stranded parts 6-10) another five part epic clocking in at over twenty minutes. Francis plays lead guitar and gets co-writer credit for Resilience 2 and Steve Hackett plays on the last two sections Mirage Of The Machines and To The Light.  The album closes with  Hackett solo which is a great way to finish any album.

I must mention part eight. High On The Dunes is destined to become a concert highlight on par with Dave Gilmour on top of the wall or Genesis playing Afterglow, the section is spine tingling.  It is so powerful that it is bought back as a secret track at the end of the album.

I asked the question, why should I buy this instead of the standard. Simply put you would be mad not to.

This is different to a lot of recent releases from progressive groups,  we don’t get fifteen time changes within the first two minutes, strange off tempo drumming that sounds like he’s completely forgotten what song he’s playing or solo’s that seem to be nothing more than someone trying to tune their new 37 string bass guitar.

What you do get is a collection of well crafted music.  Every track plays it’s part in the story, there is nothing that can be regarded as filler.  The musicianship is first class as is the production and packaging.

The brilliant artwork was done by Christine Leakey, who also provides vocals on Ocean Of Stars and Premonition Suite and this is a good reason you should buy the CD instead of download.

Albums this good are as rare as hens teeth. For me this is the best album I’ve heard in a very long time.  I know when it comes to handing out the awards at the end on the year, Steven Wilson will sweep the boards but in my opinion there is not a single track on Hand.Cannot.Erase that is anywhere near as good as anything on New World.

THEO – The Game of Ouroboros – Long Live the Keys

THEO, The Game of Ouroboros (Big-O Records, 2015)

Tracks: 1. The Game of Ouroboros, 2. The Blood That Floats My Throne, 3. Creatures of Our Comfort, 4. These are the Simple Days, 5. Idle Worship, 6. Exile

I love discovering new bands that are absolutely amazing! I just found out about THEO a few days ago, and the more I am learning about the music and the band the more I like it. THEO’s The Game of Ouroboros offers so much to the listener. It is a keyboard driven album in a very traditionally “prog” sense, yet it does not allow itself to be tied to that [rather loose] definition. The Game Of OuroborosTHEO find themselves sailing anywhere from prog metal (in an almost Haken fashion, just not quite as chaotic) to straight-up classic prog, to jazz, to an almost funk sound. Their exploration of different sounds, especially through the keyboards, is brilliant. Apart from The Tangent, it seems that there are very few third wave prog bands that center around the keyboards as much as THEO do, yet it is never overdone. Think ELP or Yes keyboards – always just the right amount.

So who are THEO?

Jim Alfredson: keyboards, lead vocals

Gary Davenport: bass

Kevin DePree: drums, backing vocals

Jack Reichbart: guitars

Specials guests: Greg Nagy and Zach Zunis on guitars for the title song

The album itself is actually a bit of a dystopian concept album, but you wouldn’t know that from a passive listen. The music is not depressing in a Floydian Animals or The Wall sense, but rather it is quite upbeat. Thematically, however, the album gets off to a rather dark start. “The Game of Ouroboros” starts with a computerized phone answering machine reading Theo’s personal RFID chip, which contains all of his personal information. To be honest, the idea of chipping humans scares the crap out of me. Once the music begins, Jim Alfredson’s distinct vocals take over and shortly deliver this cheery line: “Bow to the corporations, concede your very life.” There’s a happy thought. Here’s another one, from the second song, “The Blood that Floats my Throne”: “a passive citizen is a happy citizen.” Yikes. THEO are very upfront with their concept, and they are not afraid to hide it.

(Random fun fact. The ouroboros is an ancient symbol of a serpent eating its own tail. Interesting to have this circular idea so prominent in a progressive rock album, considering the word progress is in the name of the genre.)

So, while there are clear dystopian elements to be found here, the music itself does not follow the traditional depressing dystopian themes so often heard in “dystopian” albums. The first song has an almost jazzy element to it, in parts, because it jumps around to different instrument solos, and the vocal section almost acts as an instrumental solo, as opposed to being layered over the music. I can’t honestly remember hearing any other band attempt to use vocalization in that manner, but I think it works really well, especially with Jim’s voice, which is unlike most traditional “prog” singers. The jazz sounds will give way to prog metal in other places, and even to a funky type of prog in the fifth song, “Idle Worship.”

My favorite aspect of this album is definitely the keyboards, although all the instrumentation is quite good. There is heavy bass, great guitar riffs, and great drums. But those keyboards. Man are they good. At some points it sounds like an actual pipe organ, and then I found out that it actually is a real pipe organ, the one at Hope College’s chapel in Holland, Michigan, to be precise. I’m not a big fan of organ music in church, mainly because I have grown up in churches that wouldn’t dream of purchasing an organ, and the few times I have heard organs in church, the music has been atrocious. Prog keyboardists should be playing and writing those hymns, and I’d be willing to bet that more pews would be full on Sundays. This particular organ sounds amazing. At other places, the keyboards take on a Dennis DeYoung Styx sound, and in even other places, we have traditional piano. It truly is wonderful to a keyboard lover like me.

I highly recommend THEO’s The Game of Ouroboros. It is a wonderful combination of many different styles of music, and it keeps the listener entertained throughout. The lyrics are strong, and the instrumentation is even stronger. To any fans of Kieth Emerson or Rick Wakemen, this album is a must listen. To everyone else, listen to it as well. You won’t be disappointed.

Big-O Records – THEO – The Game of Ouroboros

Red hot Chile proggers — Inmateria ★★★★★ @inmateria_

Here’s a self-written bio for Inmateria, the amazing band whose eponymous 2015 album I told you about yesterday (and be sure to have a free listen to the whole fantastic ★★★★★ album):

INMATERIA is a Progressive Rock band that excels in their home country, Chile. They possess the quality of a being a band with a progressive sound that does not invoke one specific band, but really depends on the listener to hear and reminisce in their mind for their own influences. The memorable melodies of their Argentine-Chilean vocalist Solange Sosa make Inmateria a more accesible band that both the most relentless progressive rock listeners, and the ones who love melodies to hum, would love.

Their concept album “Inmateria” is composed of a continuous 10-part story called “La llama en el Mar” (“The Flame On The Sea”) and a second song, 10:30 in length, called “El Problema Del Mal” (“The Problem Of Evil”). “The Flame On The Sea” is a metaphor with many layers that talks about childhood, feeling out of place, depression, and innocence. It blends powerful progressive rock songs with more mellow tunes and instrumental themes that could be part of a film score.

The second song on the album, “El Problema Del Mal,” is a shorter 10:30 tune that talks about “The Problem Of Evil,” which refers to the idea that, if God is omnipotent and good, why is there evil in the world?

Solange Sosa – Vocals
Matí­as Armstrong – Guitars and Keyboards
Luis Jaraquemada – Bass and Keyboards
Daniel Frommer – Drums
Gabriel Varela – Keyboards

1. Preludio (Instrumental) [01:54]

2. Lejos De Aquí [05:19]

3. Anormal [04:48]

4. La Inocencia (Instrumental) [02:48]

5. Fuera De Lugar [04:07]

6. En La Oscuridad [07:16]

7. La Búsqueda (Instrumental) [01:56]

8. Un Paso Atrás [03:57]

9. Flotar [07:01]

10. Epílogo (Instrumental) [02:58]

11. El Problema Del Mal [10:34]

McDonald and Giles: A Hidden Gem


After their departure from King Crimson following the conclusion of the band’s first North American tour in 1969, multi-instrumentalist whiz Ian McDonald and drummer extraordinaire Michael Giles briefly formed their own band, appropriately named McDonald and Giles. Their eponymous debut album, released in 1971, is a gem I recently discovered while searching for some live King Crimson videos on the web. The lesser known half of the four man monster that was King Crimson’s original lineup (the other king-crimson-1969two being Greg Lake and, of course, Robert Fripp), McDonald and Giles proved that they were no slouches themselves when it came to musical talent. Giles, of course, had already established himself as one of the finest drummers of his day for his frenetic yet polished performance on 21st Century Schizoid Man. McDonald was and still is a man of many talents: his instruments of choice include saxophone, flute, keyboards, guitar, bass, and percussion, among others. Oh, and both gentleman can also sing. As a matter of fact, Giles sang lead vocals for King Crimson’s precursor, Giles, Giles, and Fripp. The two play all the instruments on the album except for bass guitar, which is played by Michael’s younger brother Peter. Now onto the album itself.

McDonald and Giles’ first and only album sounds more like a Giles, Giles, and Fripp album than a King Crimson album. Although jazz influences certainly do permeate the music, McDonald and Giles opted for more optimistic and cheerful songs than the ones found on In the Court of the Crimson King. Here are brief descriptions of each song:

Suite C- a lengthy (over 11 minutes) and progressive opener with a jazzy vibe; Steve Winwood (of Traffic fame) guests on piano

Flight of the Ibis- a dreamy love song that sounds like it could have been on one of Pink Floyd’s earliest albums; also sounds like the gentle King Crimson ballad Cadence and Cascade

Is She Waiting?- a brief, gentle acoustic peace

Tomorrow’s People-The Children of Today- solid vocal performance from Giles, and even better drumming; catchy saxophone, too; best song on the album

Birdman- longest piece (over 22 minutes); eerie a capella opening; softer song with solid drum and percussion work

Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, the album did not sell particularly well, although it has gained popularity over the years as more King Crimson fans discover it.  McDonald and Giles split up after the album’s release, and each man went their separate ways. Michael Giles would stay out of the limelight for the most part, but he would co-found the 21st Century Schizoid Band in 2002. He has not performed live since 2009, however. Ian McDonald, on the other hand, went on to co-found one of the most popular bands of the 70s and 80s: Foreigner. He left the band in 1979, but has continued to appear as a session musician on a variety of albums.

If you enjoy the sound of King Crimson, but perhaps prefer more cheerful lyrics, then this is an album worth listening to. And if you are not so inclined to listen to King Crimson, this album is still worth a listen. The drumming of Giles is excellent as usual, and McDonald does a fine job on every instrument he plays. Featuring an array of styles from jazzy drum and sax interludes to soft, sweeping acoustic guitar, this album could appeal to many if they gave it a chance. It is a hidden gem waiting to be rediscovered.

Neal Morse T-Shirt On Sale: This Weekend Only

Radiant Records

Hello Inner Circle,

   Greetings from Radiant Records! Don’t miss out on this weekend flash sale on the Inner Circle t-shirt! Now through Sunday, get the exclusive Inner Circle t-shirt for just $10.00 (regular price, $25.00)! With this crazy low price, NOW is the time to get yours!

Exclusively designed for the Neal Morse Inner Circle

*Sale ends Sunday at 11:59 PM (CST)*

God bless,

Megan Batista

Radiant Records

Follow us!

Spiral Architect: “A Sceptic’s Universe” ★★★★★

This classic prog metal extravaganza was released fifteen years ago…

Spiral Architect: “A Sceptic’s Universe” (2000)

Spinning -0:00

Excessit -3:25

Moving Spirit / Occam’s Razor -9:39

Insect -14:58

Cloud Constructor
………….x- Cloud Of Unknowing -20:54
………….y- Being And Nothingness -24:05
………….z- Shuffled -25:04

Conjuring Collapse -26:21

Adaptability -32:55

Fountainhead -37:30

Hasse Fröberg & Musical Companion – HFMC – The Clock’s Ticking

Tracks: Seconds; Can’t Stop the Clock; Everything Can Change; Pages; Genius; In the Warmth of the Evening; Something Worth Dying For; Someone Else’s Fault; Minutes

Geddy Lee I. Rating: 10/10

Right out of the gate this album starts with the ticking of a clock, though I can’t help thinking I’m listening to a metronome, in a song aptly called “Seconds”. That then transitions into a bit of synth that paves the way for the Prog to follow. And boy does it follow. In less than two minutes we’re in track two “Can’t Stop the Clock” and it’s not waiting around. At times it’s playful, heavy, got some wonderful guitar runs, and boy does it have a chorus that you can’t help but want to sing along with the moment you hear it. Lyrically, Hasse sounds like he’s in a good place with lines like: “… still think music is rather uplifting – Back on the road again it’s more fun than it’s ever been.”

“Everything Can Change” switches things up a bit and is kind of all over the place with a beautiful guitar solo that’s immediately followed up by a piano diddy. Again I love the chorus here and can really feel it “…moving through my system.”

At nearly fifteen and a half minutes “Pages” is a lot of what you’d hope for in a Prog “epic”. Strong and seemingly watery bass tones, pleasantly surprising horn work, great rhythmic passages, strong keyboard sounds that really set the tone of the song at times, and naturally more stunning guitar work. All of these things serve to take the musical theme of the song and prod it, exploring different parts of itself as it runs it’s musical course. Not to mention there’s a lot of great vocal work including harmonies, and it’s really great to hear the other voices of the Musical Companion chiming in. And of course the the song title “Pages” is a metaphor that lends itself to the idea that life is a book waiting to be read. Keep turning pages. That’s about as Prog-friendly as you can get. There’s also a section in here that reminds me strikingly of the opening to Rush’s Xanadu. Whether that’s intended or not, being a Geddy I couldn’t help but enjoy it.

“Genius” is an emotional ballad with some slide guitar (I think) that really tugs at the heart strings. It’s beautiful through and through and based on a real person, someone who died of disease whose work really touched Hasse, though I’m still trying to puzzle out who that might be.

“In the Warmth of the Evening” begins continuing the ballad theme but quickly ditches it to go frolicking through a multitude of musical ideas. I love hearing more of the slide guitar as well as the acoustic guitar that is riddled throughout. During the second half of this song we see a unique keyboard solo that borders on spacey followed up by a wonderfully solid groove. It’s at this point in the album that I realize that something HFMC (the band, not specifically this album) capture very well are the splendid moments where they’re just grooving along and it’s so much fun you start to think that here’s a bit of Prog you might actually be able to dance to. But who likes dancing anyway. ;)

“Something Worth Dying For” puts the rock in Prog at it’s finest. The chorus has some chugging guitar and we get some really tasteful shredding.

“Someone Else’s Fault” offers more Prog fun and to be had. The intro reminds me of how a Transatlantic song might kick off, and seeing as Roine Stolt is my favourite guitar player, I couldn’t really offer a higher compliment as I could totally see him playing here.

If the opening track “Seconds” was short clocking just under two minutes, then “Minutes”, the closing track, is even shorter at just barely more than a minute. We close the same way we opened with seconds ticking but without the keys this time. I thought it was funny/clever to have the first and last tracks named “Seconds” and “Minutes”, a reminder that the clock on the cover and one of the key underlying themes of the overall album being time, are just as relevant at the end as it was in the beginning.

Speaking of the cover, the artwork for this album is fantastic. From the wonderful colours, to the brilliant HFMC logo, to the photos of the band members used in the booklet, it is a work of art unto itself that strongly supports the music waiting inside.

As usual Hasse provides thought provoking, imagery filled lyrics and soaring vocals that serve only to push his music further and higher. However, he went out of his way to make sure that he wasn’t the only voice to be heard on this record, no matter how powerful it is, and this album is filled with something the prior two didn’t have much of, and that’s vocal harmonies and lovely ones at that. Hasse and the boys have really outdone themselves creating a body of music that has all of my favourite elements of Prog: beautiful and memorable melodies, virtuosity applied appropriately and with restraint, that seemingly randomness that leaves me initially wondering what’s happening but quickly sucks me in and only makes each additional listen even better. HFMC is another great step for the Musical Companion, and if we find ourselves thinking that the Prog scene is particularly lively and strong right now, it is in part because an album like this surfaced during it.

Inmateria (2015): @inmateria_ superb melodic prog rock from Chile ★★★★★

Holy smokes, this is one of the best albums I have heard all year!

Check out Inmateria’s eponymous 2015 album. It’s available in full on SoundCloud and YouTube… and it’s mind-blowing!

These accomplished musicians hail from Santiago, Chile:
Solange Sosa – Vocals
Daniel Frommer – Drums
Gabriel Varela – Keyboards
Luis Jaraquemada – Bass
Matías Armstrong – Guitars

I wish my language skills were much better so that I could know more of what she’s singing about so gloriously, but in any event Solange Sosa delivers a very impressive vocal performance.

The whole band is a prog dream come true. I love everything about this album: the unique yet classic style, the intricate arrangements, the impeccable musicianship, the epic flow of a remarkable prog concept album, and the fascinating melodies.

There’s lots of instrumental virtuosity layered throughout the tracks, in grand prog style:

1. Preludio (Instrumental) [01:54]
2. Lejos De Aquí [05:19]
3. Anormal [04:48]
4. La Inocencia (Instrumental) [02:48]
5. Fuera De Lugar [04:07]
6. En La Oscuridad [07:16]
7. La Búsqueda (Instrumental) [01:56]
8. Un Paso Atrás [03:57]
9. Flotar [07:01]
10. Epílogo (Instrumental) [02:58]
11. El Problema Del Mal [10:34]

Who knew that such incredible talent was residing down in Chile? Well, now you know!

Spread the word. This superb band deserves to become well-known and distributed world-wide.

I give this album my highest rating — five stars! — and I hope to hear much more from Inmateria in the future.


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