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CARBON-BASED ANATOMY

Cynic

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal


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Cynic Carbon-Based Anatomy album cover
4.05 | 91 ratings | 12 reviews | 43% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection


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Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, released in 2011

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Amidst The Coals (2:11)
2. Carbon-Based Anatomy (6:24)
3. Bija! (2:27)
4. Box Up My Bones (5:33)
5. Elves Beam Out (3:59)
6. Hieroglyph (2:28)

Total Time 23:02




Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Paul Masvidal / vocals, guitar
- Sean Reinert / drums
- Sean Malone / bass

Releases information

Released: November 15th, 2011

Thanks to Derek*Peth for the addition
and to Rune2000 for the last updates
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Audio CD$7.25
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FocusFocus
Remastered · Extra tracks
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Traced in AirTraced in Air
Season of Mist 2009
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Audio CD$5.13
$5.57 (used)
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CYNIC Carbon-Based Anatomy ratings distribution


4.05
(91 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(43%)
43%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(38%)
38%
Good, but non-essential (12%)
12%
Collectors/fans only (5%)
5%
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)
1%

CYNIC Carbon-Based Anatomy reviews


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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars 'Carbon-Based Anatomy' - Cynic (9/10)

This year, it seems like the trend is for bands to release EPs, rather than the investment of a full-length. Thinking about the current climate of the music industry, it's now possible for artists to throw a new bite-sized offering at their fanbase in between longer albums. While I do not think that anything could replace the album form as we know it, some EPs this year have been changing the way I feel about this shortened form. Legendary band Cynic blew me away with their album 'Traced In Air', so it is natural that I would be eagerly anticipating whatever they would be coming out with next, be it something short and sweet, or longer and involved. As one knowing the scope of Cynic's work would guess, 'Carbon-Based Anatomy' shows a new side of this band, and despite my first apprehensions that this would be a non-essential collection of songs for fans to enjoy during the wait for an album, I have been so pleasantly mistaken. Were it not for its brevity, I would have to trouble saying that this is a contender for the greatest thing that Cynic has ever done; a concise, yet celestial masterpiece.

'Traced In Air' is still heavy on this band's mind, as can be heard from the somewhat otherworldly direction the band has been taking with their music since then. The biggest surprise to me- and biggest change- this time around is the total dearth not only of 'death metal' (of which these guys are best known for) but metal in general. I am not completely sure where they fall now, but I think 'progressive rock' is without a doubt, the best thing to call them now. A band that comes to mind when I hear this is the latest incarnation of Anathema; plenty of atmosphere, leanings towards post-rock, strong melodies and an evasion of the typical, now -cliche things that people associate with prog. After hearing 'Traced In Air', I figured it was a natural step to eventually wean out the somewhat out-of- place growls in their music, but to hear them not even relate to metal is a risky move for them, but one I think pays off very well.

Despite being six tracks, I think 'Carbon-Based Anatomy' could have worked just as well as one track; over the twenty-odd minutes of play length, there is not much of a break from the music. The most that a listener might get to signify a change of track is perhaps a quieter section that draws on a little longer than it might have naturally. The album opens up in a very spiritual way, with plenty of ambiance and a female singer crooning very spiritually. Given Paul Masvidal's background in philosophy and mysticism, it was not a surprise to hear the EP take this opener, but it works so well. It takes a couple of minutes for the album to introduce the Cynic that we are more familiar with, never getting particularly heavy mind you, but the technical guitar riffs are still thankfully here. One thing that may be a little overdone is Paul's use of vocorder, which has been a staple of his work since the heyday, but here, I think it's sometimes used a little gratuitously. He does have a good, warm voice, but filtering it through a machine so much does take away some of the effect.

The only thing that irritates me about 'Carbon-Based Anatomy' is its short length. Taken for what it is, the EP is a masterpiece, but I am always left wanting more by the time it is over. Especially when taken into account that a couple extra tracks would have made this a very comfortable and satisfying length, it is a very tantalizing album, although the music here at times even surpasses what the band accomplished with 'Traced In Air'. Most of all though, I have to congratulate the band for constantly moving forward. Even when their developments on 'Traced In Air' were sometimes polarized, Cynic has not been discouraged, and continues to change their sound into something fresh. For this, 'Carbon-Based Anatomy' is the best short-form album I have heard this year.

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Send comments to Conor Fynes (BETA) | Report this review (#562975) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, November 05, 2011

Review by JJLehto
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars With this EP, Cynic continues their musical progression.

Another step from their metal roots, there's really none to be found here...and that is A OK. This is atmospheric, ambient progressive rock though there is still some heaviness, in a Cynic way and it still does sound like Cynic. Especially in the bass and drum work. As always the bass playing of Sean Malone is prominent and superb. Sean Reinert, (one of my favorite drummers) hits another home run here. His skittery, jazz infused drumming is sometimes light and spacious or pounding, but always perfect.

The guitar work of Paul Masvidal is notably different from past efforts. No longer is it heavy and at the forefront, but much lighter and soundscape style. At first I couldn't even tell there was guitar for some of it. Never taking the lead but just another instrument, another piece of the puzzle, that fits in to make the whole thing work. Lots of different sounds, not aggressive any more but atmospheric. Melody was never an issue of course with Masvidal and there is even still a solo or two to show off still!

The other huge change I noticed, also with Masvidal, is the robovox are gone! I could always put up with them, (at least enough) but I really did not like the robot vocorder type thing he did. Not sure if he never thought he could sing cleanly, didn't want to but regardless they have been dropped, and his voice is beautiful. Soaring and lovely, some I know have made fun of it for sounding "indie" (whatever that means) or for just being funny, but all a matter of opinion and I love them. A pleasant surprise from Masvidal on vocals.

The music is light, warm, textured and dense but without being pulverizing. The song structures are progressive, but not as strictly composed as many, but more drifty. Mixed in with the songs are some segues that extremely ambient and tribal sounding, topped with hauntingly beautiful female vocals. Very cool, very moving. The whole album moves perfectly, it all flows together like one large song.

The only real knock I have on this EP is that it's too short! I know, it's only and EP but still it's only 23 minutes, and the music is so moving and well done it's over before you realize it. It leaves me wanting so much more. If Cynic's next album is a longer version of this, (done just as well) it will be a masterpiece.

Great piece of music, I recommend everyone try this beautiful work of ethereal rock.

Four Stars

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Send comments to JJLehto (BETA) | Report this review (#609101) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, January 13, 2012

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars "Carbon-Based Anatomy" is an EP release by US progressive rock/metal act Cynic. The EP was released through Season of Mist in November 2011. Cynic is down to a trio on this release as Tymon Kruidenier (Guitars/vocals) has left the band again after a relatively short membership. The remaining members are Sean Reinert (Drums, Keyboards), Paul Masvidal (Vocals, Guitars, Lyrics) and Sean Malone (Bass). Since the release of the band's long awaited comeback album "Traced in Air (2008)", Cynic have released the "Re-Traced (2010" EP, which mostly featured re-arranged tracks from "Traced in Air" (and one new track), but "Carbon-Based Anatomy" is the band's first release with all new material since 2008.

The EP features six tracks. Three tracks are "regular" songs with vocals/lyrics, while the three remaining and relatively shorter tracks are more ambient in style. All tracks seque into each other to form a 23:01 minute long concept.

The music on the EP is pretty far removed from the technical/progressive metal of the band's first two albums. Not that those two releases don't sound very different from each other too, but "Carbon-Based Anatomy" features very little than can be labelled metal. Instead Cynic have created an atmospheric form of progressive post-rock that will probably take some time to sink in for those who crave technical playing and fusion drumming. The EP features a beautiful, melancholic and tranquil atmosphere. The music is subtle (but still occasionally more powerful) and the vocals by Paul Masvidal are soft and mellow. There is a rare fervor about his delivery that's greatly enjoyable. It's a joy to follow his development as a vocalist and on this release he adds new elements to his sound. There are quite a few harmony and choir vocals on the EP, which is not something I remember having heard before to this extent.

Initially I was a bit disappointed about "Carbon-Based Anatomy" because of the lack of metal elements, but upon repeated listens the strong vocal lines, hypnotic drumming and intriguing songwriting have ended up having a captivating effect on me and I find myself returning to the EP often for a fix of the unique atmosphere and delicate delivery. This is new terrority for Cynic and while the full EP is an enjoyable listening experience, I don't think the rest of the tracks quite reach the incredibly high standard of the title track and when I know that they can reach that high a quality, I'm spoiled enough to demand that the full EP is on the same level. We would have been talking about a 5 star masterpiece had that been the case. As it is I'd say a 4 - 4.5 star (85%) rating is fully deserved. I might even upgrade my rating to a full 4.5 star (90%) rating in time.

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Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#619590) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, January 26, 2012

Review by EatThatPhonebook
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars 6/10

"Carbon Based Anatomy" gives solid, brave music, but leaves the listener wanting more.

Legendary act Cynic have been known for years thanks to their 1994 debut "Focus", a Technical Death Metal landmark album. After such a long hiatus, they returned in 2008 with their sophomore album "Traced In Air", where the previous sound was rejected completely in favor of a more Modern Progressive Rock one mixed with some Alternative Rock, like many Metal bands have done. "Carbon Based Anatomy" now is their first EP with new material since their demos from the nineties.

It seems like Cynic have no intention to go back to their original sound, continuing their experiments from "Traced In Air". This EP and the previous album as a matter of fact share many qualities: the vocals, first of all, are almost sweet sounding in their delicious cleanness; The rhythms are odd time in many points, the drums being influenced by Fusion, there are wonderful spacey soundscapes that give a dreamy touch to the whole pieces. But there is one big difference: while "Traced In Air" still had some Metal within it, "Carbon Based Anatomy" has nothing whatsoever that can be labeled that way: these twenty three minutes are a relaxing, mellow, and sometimes beautiful mixture of some Progressive, Alternative Rock melodies, and very ambitious instrumentation.

Being a six track EP, you'd expect from these guys to receive pretty much flawless entertainment all the way through, but instead, some moments feel a little too toned down, the melodies sometimes aren't quite as memorable or innovating as they were in "Traced In Air", and finally the vocals don't feel quite as powerful and emotional as previous times, even though Paul Masvidal's voice itself has a very pretty tone, as he always had for clean vocals.

The three Ambient experiments are interesting, as well as the atmospheres they create, especially for the intro of the album "Amidst The Coals". The best full length songs here seem to be the title track, with it's dragging and hypnotic sounds, and "Box Up My Bones", a step down to the mentioned piece but still very pretty and engaging in its liveliness. "Elves Beam Out" is a little forgettable in my opinion, even though it's originality is undeniable.

Overall I was left wanting more with "Carbon-Based Anatomy", but this material has no doubt gave me a great feeling for the works to come from the band, who will be releasing the full length third album soon.

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Send comments to EatThatPhonebook (BETA) | Report this review (#622224) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, January 28, 2012

Review by Negoba
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Mixed Bag of Beauty, Spacy Prog, and New Age Mellowness

Cynic is absolutely one of my favorite bands. TRACED IN AIR is in my opinion one of the best albums ever made. The band integrates so many things I love into one brilliant and singular sound. Jazzy grooves and harmonic structure, technical metal guitar flourishes, psychedelic textures, and eastern mysticism. These are a few of my fav-or-ite things. With CARBON BASED ANATOMY, Cynic is the least metal and most psych-prog it's ever been. On paper, that doesn't bother me at all. However, in execution, the band has lost a little of its edge.

Paul Masdival is getting more and more comfortable with his singing voice, and though his sense of pitch and melody are fine, his natural timbre is a bit "bratty" and as he sheds the heavy processing (Cynic's signature "robot vocals") and the backing growls, the music suffers a bit. This is most annoying on the chorus of "Box Up My Bones" which has an almost alt-pop quality that isn't bad per se, but is simply not what I'm looking for when I put on a Cynic album. "Elves Beam Out" is better, with some very strong instrumental sections but lacking the grand refrains a la "Evolutionary Sleeper." The best song by far is the title track, which seems like the logical evolution of Cynic's sound moving from FOCUS through TIA. The fade in of the two Seans is brilliant as ever (please keep Malone on every Cynic project!!!), and the sci-fi lyric is the best on the album. Shimmering clean guitars, pulsing bass, this is what I bought the album for.

The other three tracks are world-tinged transitions that I personally like quite a bit, but again move the EP decidedly into the range of New Age ambience. By the end of the space- trance "Hieroglyph" I'm left feeling happy to have new Cynic material that does indeed offer something new to their body of work, but also just a bit disappointed. What I'd really like is a longer work (30-40 minutes) where the band brings a bit of the metal back, abandons any poppish aspiration, but keeps the ambient interludes. Keeping the range of emotion and sounds that we've grown to love from this band would hopefully push them back into masterpiece level.

This is a 3.5 star album I'm rounding up because they are Cynic after all, and this is still some of the best space metal you can find.

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Send comments to Negoba (BETA) | Report this review (#628216) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Review by Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars The Three Horsemen of the Apocalypse are back ! Yes they lost a member along the way but Reinert, Malone and Masvidal are back in the saddle spreading death and pestilance along the way. Okay i'll stop with the dramatics already. CYNIC sounded like no other band when they released their debut "Focus" back in the nineties. They were trail-blazers and as such didn't have any like-minded bands to hang with let alone play with. A year later they broke up. In the meantime countless bands have been inspired by that album. They returned with the acclaimed "Traced In Air" and haven't looked back. This EP is unlike anything they have done. They have followed the path of bands like MAUDLIN OF THE WELL and KAYO DOT turning their backs on extreme music and becoming more atmospheric along the way. There was a really good interview with Masdival in the Classic Rock Presents Prog magazine not long ago. In it he talks about how he felt like a conduit-just showing up and letting his body be used as a creative outlet. "He was aiming at an "underworld, haunting dark sense" with the versus but a childlike, lullaby-esque chorus." There seems to be themes about the mind, travelling and death. It's a very spiritual album if you ask me. While it's different from LUNATIC SOUL I was reminded of that project.

"Amidst The Coals" opens with plenty of atmosphere before female vocals sing then speak in a Shaman-like manner. I should mention that she is a Folk singer named Amy Correia who is a good friend of the band and totally gets what they are trying to accomplish here. It blends into "Carbon-Based Anatomy" where the drums come in and build in an impressive way. Male vocals before 1 1/2 minutes and they will become reserved with acoustic guitar before it kicks back in. A guitar solo after 4 minutes then it eventually blends into "Bija !" a short Middle-Eastern flavoured tune with lots of percussion as Amy offers up vocal melodies.

"Box Up My Bones" gradually builds until we get a killer sound. Almost spoken vocals 1 1/2 minutes in followed by singing as these contrasts continue. "Elves Beam Out" opens with atmosphere before it kicks in hard and uptempo. Vocals too and the guitar cries out after 2 minutes. "Hieroglyph" is as Masdival describes "...like entering the portal of your pineal gland and exiting the body. Kind of like the death experience". Lots of atmosphere with spoken words.

Masdival says he's always writing about life and death, and considering he's volunteered at a hospice for the last 10 years he certainly is qualified.

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Posted Friday, February 17, 2012

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal Team
4 stars Cynic have been quite an enigma for me since the release of Traced In Air. The album from the reunited trio of Paul Masvidal, Sean Reinert and Sean Malone was very well recieved by the progressive metal community even if the album more often than not deviated from the familiar style that was set by Focus.

Released in 1993, Focus was a ground breaking album that reinvented the technical death metal sound and made this otherwise obscure Miami based band into heroes of the newly formed death scene. After the band's break up in 1994 it took them more than a decade to work out their differences and release their long awaited second album. Since then, the band was engaged in a lengthy tour that took them halfway around the world and showed that fans have certainly not forgotten their heroes.

It's been a few years since the band's acclaimed second album and Cynic are currently working on their third album which is currently planned to be released in 2012. Still, this doesn't mean that they can't make another love letter to their fans which is exactly what they did with the release of Carbon-Based Anatomy EP in November 2011. This 23 minute mini album is a continuous piece that's been broken down into 6 segments. The style never reaches the technical metal of their 1993 classic and there's not much tech metal to actually talk about since most of the music is very atmospheric. The title track and Box Up My Bones are the two centerpieces of this EP that serve as great companion pieces to the material off Traced In Air. Still, there are some improvements in the style that makes the music a bit more enjoyable for me. The rock instruments are a lot more prominent on Carbon-Based Anatomy and the melodies are a bit more defined.

I can definitely say that I found this material to be quite enjoyable and am certainly looking forward to the upcoming album release that will hopefully impress me even more!

***** star songs: Box Up My Bones (5:33)

**** star songs: Amidst The Coals (2:11) Carbon-Based Anatomy (6:24) Elves Beam Out (3:59)

*** star songs: Bija! (2:27) Hieroglyph (2:28)

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Posted Saturday, February 18, 2012

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars It's Sean Malone who really made me look an eye on the development of Cynic because I like his bass playing in Gordian Knot. This EP album which spans less than half an-hour duration is an excellent music composition that blew me away since the first time I spun it. First off, I always like the atmospheric style of their music. This time Cynic uses a female vocal with a non- English language in the opening track Amidst The Coals (2:11) that makes the atmosphere really great as an opening. It takes smoothly to another vocal-based track of the EP title Carbon-Based Anatomy (6:24) where the bass guitar work serves as rhythmic mode in the vein of Dream Theater's Never Enough (Octavarium). The guitar solo is also stunning. The next short track that serves as a bridge Bija! (2:27) is a wonderful Ravi Shankar's style with sitar as well as tabla and atmospheric voices. It then moves wonderfully to Box Up My Bones (5:33). I can find many musical breaks demonstrating guitar fills and stunning solo in the middle of the track. I like the way vocal part sings and also how the drum is played. Well, it's hard for me to find any musical reference these gentlemen use because the music is really unique and so captivating from start to end.

Looking at the EP ini broader perspective, this category of music is similar with their previous EP Traced in Air. The composition is actually not really a song orientated style however I can find the beauty of each individual song offered here with this EP. I'd rather look at this album as one whole EP that sounds like a mini concept album as the musical flow is really great. The harmonies created from the instruments and vocal are also great. Even though the music is actually not complex but it's not a simple music neither. For sure the whole EP sounds like a cohesive whole - that means this EP has strong structural integrity.

Overall, it's an excellent addition to any prog music collection. Keep on proggin' ...!!!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

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Posted Saturday, May 26, 2012

Review by Horizons
COLLABORATOR Post/Math Rock Team
4 stars Cynic finds themselves amidst the chilling fringes of space.

Ever since their critically acclaimed debut album, Focus, Cynic has continued to change their sound and step away from their death-metal roots. Of course, Traced In Air still had some of these metal footholds, and the songwriting was just as complex and filled with signature hooks. Carbon-Based Anatomy takes this approach to another level. Here, we find Cynic focusing on atmosphere in a very compelling and accessible manner. The music found on this EP is by far their most tame and illustrates the many scenes we dream of far above our skies.

Carbon-Based Anatomy, Box Up My Bones and Elves Beam Out are the real songs here. The title track is the real centerpiece here, and one of Cynic's best tracks to date. Reinert and Malone lock into an intense momentum. Masvidal gives his best vocal performance on the album - the lonely, disconnection of the singing is somehow also warm and caring. A killer guitar solo and a more lush vocal arrangement makes the finale. The growls are completely absent on this album, but throughout the album we're instead given real eerie harmonies and Paul's stripped down vocals - really changing the communication of lyrics. The changes in vocals are most apparent in Box Up My Bones. A guitar ushers in the harmonies and Reinert's crashing drum grooves. This song has one hell of a catchy chorus with more submerged guitar leads adding to that galatic vibe i get from this album. Finally, Elves Beam Out brings the most supernatural groove with Reinert's strangely produced drum work and the heavy-hitting guitar moving lines. Again, whenever the harmonies and sparse lead sections pop out the song becomes very lush, dense, and beautiful.

The other half of them are interludes that are utilized to make the atmosphere on this release more immersive. The album begins with the beautiful Admist the Coals, a song featuring the voice of Amy Correia, sung in the style similar to Sigur Ros. Similar to the post- rock titans the song is very open, captivating, and emotive in delivery. The second piece of this style is Bija!, found after the EP's title track. Bija! is the lowest point on this EP and for me, really ruins Carbon's sense of flow. The piece alone isn't so bad, strongly Indian influenced with sitar playing and percussion accompanied with hush vocal harmonies. The problem with Bija! is the break of the spacey style that is prevalent on the rest of the album and the lack of a real Cynic touch on the track. Finally, the album exits with Hieroglyph. Crumbling drone with post-rock swells brings you to the soft, poetic narrative of Amy that fades into the last note of the album.

Cynic really has something here. The production is great on this record and the band is tight with their new sound that should appeal to old fans and newcomers. I really hope the guys put out a full-length release with a continuation of this style.

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Posted Friday, July 19, 2013

Latest members reviews

4 stars Cynic's 2011 EP Carbon Based Anatomy could be considered as a lead up to this years Kindly Bent To Free Us full length album but I feel that it stands on it's own. Long gone are the growling vocals and heavier sound of 2007's Traced In Air and the electronic/progressive reworkings found on the 2 ... (read more)

Report this review (#1192480) | Posted by SteveG | Saturday, June 14, 2014 | Review Permanlink

3 stars A legendary band and I still remember the release of their Focus album very well. I cannot remember the music though. Maybe a good idea to dig it out from a box down in the dungeons of my castle. While Focus was metal (?), this, their brand new EP, is not particular metal. It sounds like a mix ... (read more)

Report this review (#584112) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Wednesday, December 07, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I have listened to Carbon-Based Anatomy 50 times back-to-back since the time I got it, each time better than the last. This is an exceptional, nigh on perfect record. It annoys me that this is being treated as an EP as that means it wont get the exposure it deserves. Don't get fooled by its EP st ... (read more)

Report this review (#561897) | Posted by loggerhead | Thursday, November 03, 2011 | Review Permanlink

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