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UNIVERS ZERO (1313)

Univers Zero

RIO/Avant-Prog


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Univers Zero Univers Zero (1313) album cover
4.24 | 160 ratings | 16 reviews | 38% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection


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Studio Album, released in 1977

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Ronde (15:08)
2. Carabosse (3:40)
3. Docteur Petiot (7:32)
4. Malaise (7:32)
5. Complainte (3:18)

Total Time: 36:50

bonus track on Rune 1313
6. La Faulx (28:07)

Lyrics

Search UNIVERS ZERO Univers Zero (1313) lyrics

Music tabs (tablatures)

Search UNIVERS ZERO Univers Zero (1313) tabs

Line-up / Musicians

- Michel Berckmans / bassoon
- Daniel Denis / percussion
- Marcel Dufrane / violin
- Christian Genet / bass
- Patrick Hanappier / violin, viola, pocket cello
- Emmanuel Nicaise / harmonium, spinet
- Roger Trigaux / guitar

Releases information

1977 - as "Univers Zero"
1978 - as "Univers Zero"
1984 - remixed, and renamed as "1313" (Cryonic)
1989 - remixed, and renamed as "1313" (Cuneiform Records Rune 20)
2008 - remastered and added bonus track (Cuneiform Rune 1313)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Joren for the last updates
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Buy UNIVERS ZERO Univers Zero (1313) Music


HeresieHeresie
Remastered
Cuneiform 2010
Audio CD$11.07
$9.62 (used)
Ceux De DehorsCeux De Dehors
Cuneiform 1995
Audio CD$10.41
$5.24 (used)
Univers ZeroUnivers Zero
Cuneiform 2008
Audio CD$10.44
$19.13 (used)
The Hard QuestThe Hard Quest
Cuneiform 1999
Audio CD$11.59
$19.10 (used)
ClivagesClivages
CUNEIFORM 2010
Audio CD$10.22
$12.00 (used)
LiveLive
Cuneiform 2006
Audio CD$10.06
$5.99 (used)
UzedUzed
Cuneiform 1995
Audio CD$10.41
$6.00 (used)
HeatwaveHeatwave
Cuneiform 1995
Audio CD$10.06
$8.97 (used)
Crawling WindCrawling Wind
Remastered
Cuneiform 2001
Audio CD$10.28
$7.99 (used)
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UNIVERS ZERO Univers Zero (1313) ratings distribution


4.24
(160 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(38%)
38%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(42%)
42%
Good, but non-essential (12%)
12%
Collectors/fans only (6%)
6%
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)
1%

UNIVERS ZERO Univers Zero (1313) reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Folk
4 stars What a slap in the face Univers Zero gives you in terms of an introduction to their music. I cannot think of one group that dared so much at once in their debut album as UZ did at the time, bar some other RIO outfits. Mostly an acoustic band (bar the bass and some of Trigaux's guitars), the music coming out here is a cross of Zappa (Uncle Meat), meeting Henry Cow, Bela Bartok or Charles Ives, yet it has a distinct rock flavour, but maybe not in a widely-accepted manner. Thev music is anything but light hearted, rather sombre and oppressive always flirting with dissonances, but never going over the top with them (as was frequently the case with Henry Cow). If I can be so naďve as to remind you that UZ is one of the six signataires of the Rock In Opposition chart, you might just understand that UZ is as much about their music as they are about aesthetics of their music. For this debut album, UZ is a septet and the huge majority of instrument used are of the classical persuasion.

It is of course never easy to describe such difficult music, with either words or images, but the acoustic world that UZ is presenting us is a dark, nightly, rather solemn and sinister underworld made of ambiances and angst of finding sheer horror round the street corner in London's smog late XIXth century. The 14-min+ Ronde is a wild opener, with the violin taking first role, while the much shorter Carabosse (after the fairy-witch) is more in the space of Berckmans' bassoon while Daniel Denis' amazing and inventive drumming and percussions rules the backtracks.

If the first side of the vinyl was mostly Daniel Denis' works, the second side will be Roger Trigaux's oeuvre. Not that good old Roger's "songwriting" is any lighter than Daniel's, far from it, but his music is clearly more rhythmic and repetitive. As on the previous side, the music hovers between Stravinsky and Balkanic oriented "folk-classical" music with some strong Magma influencers (Denis did play for the group and remains nowadays a friend of the Vander tribe) and represents one of the best example of chamber rock. In some ways their music can be likened to early Gryphon (the acoustic and instrumental nature of the music), but UZ is nothing medieval.

Please note that UZ's music is not easily accessible to the average Joe and therefore cannot be easily recommended to everyone. But in their genre, this group represents peak of what can be done in that kind of music. And this is only their first album of a lenghty career. Certainly a more influential band than a popular one, UZ is one of the gardians of the progressive music's integrity.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#7580) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, February 26, 2004

Review by laplace
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This remains the best introduction to this reviewer's favourite superhero member of Mr. Cutler's RIO league of nations. Their music can be likened to incidental music suited for a gothic suspense thriller but their impact on our favourite genre is anything but.

While many more traditional rock bands induce anticipation and expectancy through the use of melodic guitar riffs, UZ don't grant you that luxury, preferring to impel you through their music using rhythmic tools that produce unease in the listener - sawing violins, instrumental drumming with an often urgent, military feel and iterative discordant string lines bent over uncooperative and unfamiliar time signatures.

All this could convince you that 1313 is a demanding listen. It can be, but it's not as stressful as you might expect - reprieves are built into the music following classic and appropriate light and shade writing and although most notes are suspended over deliberately unsatisfactory chord sequences and cadences, the effect can be soothing as often as it is unsettling.

Previous reviewers have remarked that UZ have more to do with contemporary classical than with rock music, yet this reviewer has no schooling or background in that field to speak of, yet enjoyed 1313 from the first listen. They're such an important band with so few reviews and I can only assume that this is because the difficulty in acquiring the taste of this variety of music is overstated. Try it, you'll see.

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Send comments to laplace (BETA) | Report this review (#109772) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Review by Atavachron
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Back in the days when a prog fan had to seek out their fare, struggling to find those little prizes, the endless quest, personal and financial sacrifice and constant scorn from a Steve Miller and Carpenters-loving world, Univers Zero was no joke. Startling, brave and years ahead of their time, percussionist Daniel Denis led a chamber septet that rocked, or a rock band that liked to play parlour music... or both, and its history is crucial to the development of European progressive and avant garde music. Their roots began in 1970 with Arkham, the black and brooding Brussels group who traced their inspirations to the Canterbury school in England, particularly Soft Machine and its minimal jazz-rock adventures. Arkham's final concert took place in 1972 and its members went on to play with such legendary acts as Magma, Aksak Maboul, and Pazop. Daniel Denis formed Necronomicon (not the German band) with Claude Deron, finally emerging as Univers Zero in 1974. By 1977 he had some very good help from guitarist Roger Trigaux, bassoon player Michel Berckmans, violinists Marcel Dufrane and Patrick Hanappier, bassist Christian Genet and harmonium player Emmanuel Nicaise. This line-up would produce a music so new and disturbing that it would set the tone for much of the Rock In Opposition that came after, an influence that is deeply felt even today.

On their debut '1313', an unnerving violin and its bassoon counterpart sputter to life, followed by a twisted lot of various strings and trashed drums sounding like a makeshift set of kitchen utensils for the 14-minute 'Ronde', off-putting, squeaky and fantastically progressive. Daniel Denis and friends clearly wanted something more-- to split music apart, bring it back together and revel in the pain of that process. And though the pieces are entirely acoustic chamber music played with precision, the Zeroes did it with a rock spirit no less bare-knuckled than any of their contemporaries. 'Carabosse' murmurs with psychotic tendencies, and 'Docteur Petiot' has the band letting go with inspired darkness, nightmarish delirium, broken toys, and shades of Bartok and fellow Belgian composer Albert Huybrechts. 'Malaise' plays out like a drug withdrawl and 'Complainte' rusts its way out of this troubled record, and us with it.

Progressive Rock in the truest sense, doom music for grown-ups, every fan should have some Univers Zero around... you have to. It's the law

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Send comments to Atavachron (BETA) | Report this review (#131651) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, August 04, 2007

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars UNIVERS ZERO's debut is mostly an acoustic affair that recalls Stravinsky and Bartok. Yes this is Chamber music and although this record isn't as dynamic as "Heresie" it's every bit as good depending on your taste. It's funny that when I was listening to "Heresie" at work a lady told me it sounded like her Halloween music, and when listening to "1313" a man in his fifties asked me "Do you know what music is playing ?" I said "Yes, it's UNIVERS ZERO from Belgium, they were influenced by Bartok and Stravinsky." He quickly corrected me on the way I pronounced Bartok (haha) and as he was leaving the store he told me "By the way I like your taste in music".

"Ronde" opens with violins as other sounds are added as it plays out. It kicks in 1 1/2 minutes in to a higher gear. I really like listening to all the beautiful, intricate sounds. It starts getting darker 7 1/2 minutes in until we get a really intense passage with eerie violins 9 minutes in.The song slows right down 12 minutes in to another fearful, tension filled soundscape. "Carabosse" has lots of violin melodies as well as the usual collage of sounds. This one isn't as dark as the first one.

"Docteur Petiot" features guitar with horn sounds, drums and percussion as it all builds and bursts into an energetic little number. 4 minutes in the song calms right down and it becomes dark and gripping before 6 minutes. "Malaise" actually has a catchy melody. It changes 3 minutes in relying more on atmosphere. The original melody is back 4 minutes in. Good song. "Complainte" features slowly played violin melodies on this the shortest song.

If your into the classical side of music, or Chamber rock that's a little on the dark side, have I got a record for you !

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#140200) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, September 23, 2007

Review by Negoba
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars So You Say You're Ready for Some Challenging Music???

The music that Belgian band Univers Zero makes sounds more like "classical" music than rock, even though it is neither. The term "modern chamber music" is most fitting though that still does not quite capture the strange creature we have here. Two violins, a bassoon, and a medieval keyboardist playing harmonium and spinet combine with a rock rhythm section and an occasional clean guitar to create a music that sounds most like works of 20th century composers Bela Bartok and Igor Stravinsky. Even then, the rock rhythm section transforms the sound into something that really exists nowhere else. On their debut album (initially a self titled "Black Album" but later renamed 1313), the band seems most rooted in their classical roots. Later albums will see them push the limits of their strange niche, especially under the influence of other RIO and avant-prog bands. But for me, it is this first, least rock-n-roll, album that is the best of them all.

The music of Univers Zero is dominated by melodic and rhythmic figures that first lead and then support, alternating between near unison and polyphonic sounds. The opener "Ronde" is an over 15 minute piece that is unquestionably dark, but also somewhat jubilant. It's almost if a group battle hardened alligators were having a drunken party. That is, we're listening to some weighty characters who are a bit lumpy around the edges but are still very dangerous. This sense of contrast is everywhere. The drum rhythms are repetitive, but extremely syncopated and complex. The melodic instruments pull weird, dissonant sounds from their back pockets but every note seems intentional. In comparison, the darkest moments of KC's LARK'S TONGUES seem like appetizers for this intricate main course.

1313's strength lies in the variety of emotional scenes portrayed (HERESIE, for instance, is so constantly dark that it loses a little of its emotive power for me) and in the ability of the compositions to transcend the repetition of melodic themes (something I hear on the band's more modern albums.) Like the best classical music, there is essentially nowhere on this album where I think to myself as a musician "Maybe that wasn't the best choice." Instead, I get to be a pure listener, absorbed in the mood and scene created by the composer and players. This is what music, or in fact, art in general, is at its absolute best. It transports you to another place. I do not stand back and observe this music. I hop aboard and it carries me on adventures of the imagination.

As a prog fan, one of my favorite UZ songs ever is the track "Docteur Petiot." The song is based on cyclical falling riff in 7 that would even work in a (prog) metal context. Again, the song opens with this riff as a lead element and then it is later used as the backbone for the rest of the song. Similarly, subsequent melodic themes turn and twist in variations before returning. If one song ever truly embodied classical and rock ideals simultaneously, it would be this one. Incidentally, the visual I get from this song is a middle aged woman lost in a strange large house, getting progressively confused and frantic as she tries to get out. Finally she lays down in a deserted room, resigned to both her capture and her lunacy. (I did mention that UZ is a little dark, didn't I?)

I also appreciate very much that 1313 employs almost none of the clanging, abrupt transitioning that is very much in vogue now, not only in avant-garde music but prog in general. Certainly sections move in tonality, instrumentation, and rhythm, but I never feel the clang of the dead stops and turns that seems to be an artistic element used not only in music but recent cinema and visual art as well.

The only hesitation I have in giving this album a masterpiece rating is that I feel like I should be judging it on a completely different scale than virtually anything else on this site. Before writing this review, I bought the new CLIVAGES, listened to some Stravinsky, and had some serious thought about what I enjoyed in this music. In the end, while it is undoubtedly complex, pushes on the outer boundaries of musical genre, and dares to moods far darker than teenage Goths even know exist, this music is good because it allows my inner critic to fall away. It creates scenes into which I am immersed, my imagination alive and absorbed.

Among the best of the best. 5/5

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Send comments to Negoba (BETA) | Report this review (#265009) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, February 08, 2010

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
5 stars They say that time flies when you're having fun and I've definitely had a blast reviewing album after album within the last couple of months. The occasion has finally come for me to unveil another highlight in my music collection and so for my 300th review I bring you Univers Zero's debut album!

My Univers Zero journey actually only started about a year ago when I spontaneously purchased Uzed and after being so immensely impressed by what I heard on that record I just had to hear more from this exciting band. After carefully reading up on all the band's releases the choice fell between the debut album and Heresie. Although I was warned that these two albums were far more acoustic in their tone than anything I heard on Uzed I put my faith in the hands of the prog gods (or spirits) and once again they smiled upon me!

1313 or simply Univers Zéro starts off with the haunting sounds of Ronde that remind me a lot of the Main Title Theme From Jaws but that's also where all comparisons to any other existing music ends. The rest of the track is basically Univers Zéro doing what they do best namely creating new innovative music in the genre that even by 1977 was already becoming stale and uninspired. Michel Berckmans' bassoon playing is just magnificent and it definitely steals the show on quite a few occasions although Daniel Denis' jumps often into the action and shows some of the most versatile drumming techniques that sometimes even make me wonder whether he makes the stuff up as he goes along!

After the 15 minutes that you are bound to never forget comes the short composition titled Carabosse which, together with Complainte, work like transitional interludes which take the listener's mind off the everything that came before and recuperates him/her for the next round. In case of Complainte it works like a perfect outro to the album which makes it easy to give the album another spin or two right after the first time. The placement of these compositions is just brilliant on this record because 15 minutes of intense music followed by 3 minutes of peaceful chamber music sounds completely natural to my ears.

The two back-to-back 7,5 minute compositions titled Docteur Petiot and Malaise turn this album from a masterpiece to one of my top 20 favorite albums of all time! Docteur Petiot has a noteworthy middle section where Daniel Denis gets the opportunity to play some erratic drum-patterns which definitely ignites the question that I raise earlier, but the fact is I love every second of it!

After being completely numbed by the previous performance Malaise comes to the rescue and delivers another mind boggling experience. This composition would have easily become a highlight on any other album but here it fades somewhat in comparison to the first two lengthy pieces which says even more about the overall quality of this recording.

I should probably give it a rest now since I could discuss 1313/Univers Zéro until the cows come home and in result bore you to tears. Just do whatever you can to seek out this album and find it all out for yourself!

***** star songs: Ronde (15:13) Docteur Petiot (7:45)

**** star songs: Carabosse (3:47) Malaise (7:58) Complainte (3:22)

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Send comments to Rune2000 (BETA) | Report this review (#272404) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
3 stars 1313 is the album that kicked off the chamber rock movement in Belgium, a dark brew of early 20th century classical music performed with rock drums and a non-conformist - not to say anarchistic - state of mind. While I love Universe Zero a lot, I can't share the general enthusiasm for their debut album as their mix of modern classical, avant-rock and zeuhl is still somewhat immature here, it doesn't reach the standards of excellence they would reach on later albums.

1313 is just the start, it has great compositions but not the unique vision of later albums. What UZ basically does is to create music similar to what Stravinsky did 60 years earlier and perform it with a small classical ensemble including electric bass and a rock drum set. Hence the term chamber rock. What I miss here is that they don't go beyond that first stage to become something else, something more personal that better integrates the classic and the rock elements.

My main gripe is that the percussion doesn't blend in very well yet with the other instruments. Sonically the drums seem to be in another place then the rest of the music, and from a compositional point of view they don't add anything to the pieces. They provide rhythmical accents but it's not the prominent pulse that would take UZ's music in more compelling and original directions in the 80's. I also miss some of the fury and grim atmosphere of the following album Heresie.

I think the album might have worked better for me without the drums, but then it would stand so close to the music of Stravinsky and Bartok that a comparison would be unavoidable and - unfortunately for UZ - not in their favour.

That's what the rating means here, this is really a very good album that would rate 4 stars if I hadn't heard any Stravinsky yet, but I was raised on that music and compared to the 5 stars that I would give to Petrushka and Sacre Du Printemps, this can't possibly have more then 3.

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Send comments to Bonnek (BETA) | Report this review (#277001) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, April 09, 2010

Review by Sinusoid
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars It's rock in opposition without that much rock. Yet, Univers Zero's debut album is one of the finer representations of the genre. The violin lines and bassoon work are the piercing forces here as they are the most noticeable. But, in the two Roger Trigaux penned pieces (''Doctor Petoit'' and ''Malaise''), the subtle guitar creaks are very punctuating. Daniel Denis's drumming is simply spellbinding as it has the most unorthodox style and approach I've ever heard, even with plenty of listening experience with Bruford and Vander.

The last song is the only one that really isn't memorable. Even the short ''Carabosse'' is a mini-highlight of its own (sounds like a house of creaking doors). The most memorable aspect of 1313 is the sinister, spooky atmosphere the pieces create. I almost feel like watching a Scooby-Doo marathon when this album is spinning to enhance the mood. It gives me mental depictions of cemeteries, catacombs and corridors during the after hours. ''Ronde'' captures the essence of 1313 quite well with its many dynamic and time shifts; some of the more suspensful moments come when the drums momentarily cease playing.

It's one of the best albums that makes you think Halloween almost as much as MDK is the best depiction of the apocalypse I've heard. It's one of those albums that focuses on mood and it works insanely well if you let it.

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Send comments to Sinusoid (BETA) | Report this review (#303508) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, October 11, 2010

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
5 stars In 1977, when progressive rock in the United States and Great Britain was crumbling under the pressure of the greedy major record labels and the scorn of petty rock journalists, Univers Zero arose out of Belgium with their new take on RIO and chamber rock.

The songwriting at this time for the band, as many here know, was shared by Daniel Denis and Roger Trigaux. Denis' compositions (Ronde, Carabosse and Complainte) tend toward the darker, and more orchestally based. Think Stravinsky writing for horror and suspense movies. Trigaux' writing (Docteur Petiot and Malaise , probably because he is a guitarist, have a bit more of a grounding in rock, with repeating patterns and complex time changes.

I love both composers' styles here. When I'm in a darker mood, Denis' pieces affirm those feelings. Lighter moods go with Trigaux' deep but playful tunes. And for this to appear at a time the industry why trying to dumb down was just a miracle.

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Send comments to Evolver (BETA) | Report this review (#553248) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, October 20, 2011

Review by Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Univers Zero might not have invented chamber rock - Henry Cow's work from In Praise of Learning onwards often approached it, and of course Art Zoyd's chamber rock debut preceded Univers Zero's by some way. But it was Univers Zero who took the idea and really ran with it, dropping the improvisational impulses underling Henry Cow and the dissonance of Art Zoyd and replacing them with tightly composed, technically complex and brilliantly performed pieces. Dramatic, frightening, and innovative, their debut album is a tour de force, the opening Ronde being a particularly powerful demonstration of the potentials of this new style of theirs.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#555603) | Review Permalink
Posted Sunday, October 23, 2011

Latest members reviews

5 stars UNIVERS ZERO is one of those unique musical forces that managed from the getgo to forge their own sonic sensationalism by lurking in the crevices that exist below the established musical genres. The genres are the musical peaks like those of mountains that attract the attention of the masses. ... (read more)

Report this review (#1091604) | Posted by siLLy puPPy | Tuesday, December 17, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars While I can appreciate the stunningly fresh feeling this music must have evoked when it first appeared in 1977, I have to agree with some of my fellow reviewers here that UZ's music will mature and evoke more emotion on future releases. Still, the compositional skill and vision presented here, ... (read more)

Report this review (#889004) | Posted by BrufordFreak | Sunday, January 06, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is one of my favorite albums. As a bassoonist, I may be a bit biased, but this is a perfect album. This is more of a classical album than a rock album. To all fans of chamber music and RIO, enjoy. A round of applause to Michel Berckmans for an amazing job on bassoon. Ronde - This is the be ... (read more)

Report this review (#184297) | Posted by YesFan72 | Wednesday, October 01, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Univers Zero have a reputation of being one of the darkest bands within the world of prog-rock (and therefore rock in general), and the beginnings of this reputation can certainly be heard on the group's debut release. The instrumentation responsible for this mood is largely acoustic, the only ... (read more)

Report this review (#107212) | Posted by Reverie | Friday, January 12, 2007 | Review Permanlink

3 stars First album released on private label.Together with Art Zoyd the masters of a kind avantgarde which isn't classic nor pop.They created an own style with mostly acoustic instruments such as violin,cello,clarinet,bassoon under the leadership from the brilliant drummer Daniel Denis,which was started to ... (read more)

Report this review (#7579) | Posted by | Saturday, February 07, 2004 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The first album by this amazing outfit an already the standard is immensly high. All tracks written by the drummer Daniel Denis, with the exception of two from guitarist Roger Trigaux. The atmosphere throughout is one of forboding. Rogers tracks Monseur Petiot (named after a murderous Parisien Doct ... (read more)

Report this review (#7577) | Posted by | Saturday, January 10, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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