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801

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Apart from his role within ROXY MUSIC, Phil Manzanera's guitar graced some 20 albums over the years: John Cale's "Fear', Brian Eno's "Here Come the Warm Jets" and Nico's "The End" to name a few. In the mid/late 70's, he joined forces with buddy Eno and a string of guest musicians and friends for a couple of albums released under the name "801'.

"Live 801" is a 1976 recording of Manzanera's third and last appearance on stage with Brian Eno, Francis Monkman (keyboards) and Simon Phillips (drums) among others, as they played to a packed house at London's Queen Elizabeth Hall. At the crossroads of rock, pop and prog, the album is a smoking performance of rich and explosive cover songs plus some of Manzanera's own material from his "Diamond Head" album. Released a year later, the studio album "Listen Now" deals less with group fiber and more with subtler sonic alchemy. Under Manzanera's concise direction, texture is still of paramount importance and he achieves it by carefully manipulating a smorgasbord of sound effects, again with Eno helping out alongwith 16 musicians that include Mel Collins on sax, Eddie Jobson on electric piano and Rhett Davies on Hammond organ among others. The result is a dark, moody canvas of sleek and sophisticated tunes spanning from jazz pop to fusion, with plenty of groovy choruses.

Highly recommended for some of the best snapshots of Manzanera's graceful and intelligent guitar style.

: : : Lise (HIBOU), CANADA : : :

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801 discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

801 top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.47 | 44 ratings
Listen Now
1977

801 Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.08 | 75 ratings
801 Live
1976
3.29 | 7 ratings
Live at Manchester University 2-11-1977
2000
5.00 | 1 ratings
Live @ Hull
2000
2.18 | 3 ratings
Manchester
2001

801 Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

801 Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

801 Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

801 Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 801 Live by 801 album cover Live, 1976
4.08 | 75 ratings

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Review by VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Review Nº 209

In 1976, taking a break from his duties in Roxy Music while that art-rock group went on hiatus, guitarist Phil Manzanera assembled a group for three-off concerts. Choosing in some very heavy friends, Manzanera dubbed the group 801, after a lyric from a song by the group's vocalist, one Brian Peter George St. John le Baptiste de la Salle Eno. Yeah, I'm talking about that guy who is more shortly known as Brian Eno, the guy self-described as 'non- musician' but which is subsequently responsible for some of the music's most critically lauded productions like U2, Talking Heads and Devo.

The 801 group was an extension of Manzanera's not very well known but great fusion group Quiet Sun, which quietly issued one marvelous album ''Mainstream'', but that suddenly died. By the other hand, few realized that it also featured the pre-ambulatory Brian Eno, one of the 20th century's greatest musical figures, along with Robert Fripp. As Quiet Sun released only one album in 1975 and died in the same year, 1976 saw, somehow, 801 rising from the ashes of that band.

The line up on this live album is Phil Manzanera (guitar), Lloyd Watson (vocals and slide guitar), Brian Eno (vocals, keyboards, synthesizers and guitar), Francis Monkman (Fender Rhodes, piano and clavinet), Bill MacCormick (vocals and bass) and Simon Phillips (drums and rhythm generator).

So, with members drawn from Roxy Music who had decided to part ways, Manzanera and Eno, along with Quiet Sun and some friends, all together settled in for three legendary nights back in November of 1976, to the final show at London's Elizabeth Hall, giving the born to this new experimental prog rock project. The album took many people by surprise, especially because 801 were formed for this live outing for the first time. Their only studio album, ''Listen Now'' was released only in 1977. Besides, the album was released at the height of the punk rock revolution in the UK. So, the album wasn't a major commercial success, but it sold well throughout the world, particularly because it gained rave reviews from critics both for the superb performances of the musicians and for its groundbreaking sound quality.

On ''801 Live'' the arrangements were quirky and muscular. The dozen songs performed at their few live concerts were a mixture of solo material from Manzanera's and Eno's catalogues, plus some really out there covers in really out there versions. The tracks most often mentioned when discussing the album include the Beatles' 'Tomorrow Never Knows' (here dubbed simply 'T.N.K.') and a cover of the Kinks' 'You Really Got Me'. The instrumental interplay is exciting, and there's something for all lovers of slightly off kilter art-pop here. Francis Monkman's keyboards add a lot to the songs and the powerful and precise drumming of Simon Phillips set the stage for the rest of the drummer's musical career.

About the tracks, the selection almost obliterates their studio counterparts, especially in terms of tension and spontaneity. Manzanera's instrumental ''Lagrima'' opens the album. It's an ambient instrumental equal to anything on ''Another Green World'', that stemmed from his solo debut studio album, ''Diamond Head''. This goes on into ''T.N.K (Tomorrow Never Knows)'', a six-minute plus reinterpretation of the climax to ''Revolver'' that was ''Tomorrow Never Knows'' of The Beatles. It's one of the best Jazz Fusion songs I've ever heard. ''East Of Asteroid'' opens with a wild collision of speedy drumming and keyboards before a wild guitar comes in, slipping from slick prog to avant gardness at will. ''Rongwrong'' is a lovely song performed by Eno on lead vocals, evoking a similar feeling to a charming ditty like ''I'll Come Running''. It was written by the Quiet Sun's drummer, Charles Hayward. ''Sombre Reptiles'' shifts out of the Eno's 1975 album ''Another Green World''. This is much groovier than the original version of Eno. ''Baby's On Fire'' having the immediacy of punk rock, but has a refined sensibility with its carnival-like motif, charming English vocals and heavy handed treatments from Eno. Manzanera's ''Diamond Head'' lets him explore territory between Eno and Pink Floyd. ''Miss Shapiro'' is another lost pop song with Eno at the helm. This is a better song than the original version, too. Fans of The Kinks should appreciate a raucous rendition of the ''You Really Got Me'', one of the best versions I've ever heard. In a similar vein is ''Third Uncle'' with a starting bass line reminiscent of ''One Of These Days'' of Pink Floyd.

Conclusion: There are three versions of this fine album, the original of course, and what is referred to as the 1999 Reissue Collector's Edition with bonus material, and finally the Collector's Edition in 2009. ''801 Live'' was musically many things to many people that thought it surely stood at the crossroads or intersection of rock, progressive music, pop, and experimentational sounds. While Brian Eno was responsible for being the cosmic imager with an earthbound attitude, it was Phil Manzanera who was responsible for the sonic textures and direction of the music, coming off with a sophisticated and elegant album. This was an odd album to come out when it did, right in the middle of the 70's. All of which allowed this bit of cohesive wax to sound both refreshing and out of step. It even seems fresh to me even today.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

 Listen Now by 801 album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.47 | 44 ratings

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Review by DePloy

4 stars The first 801 proper studio album "Listen Now" boasts a magnificent set of musicians whose skills complement each other beautifully. The winning title track features gorgeous winds and faux big band scoring at the end, courtesy of prog veteran Mel Collins. Godley and Creme from 10cc give the vocals an operatic sheen that is similar to Alan Parsons Project and Camel circa "Moonmadness". In places, the vocal melodies mixed with the instrumentation bring to mind Steely Dan and the Moody Blues or even some of Steve Howe's early solo work. I prefer these stylings over all of those examples, however.

Jobson, Wetton, and Monkman perform admirably when called upon, Manzanera's cutting guitar lines don't disappoint and Eno treats and washes everything in his trademark style. Despite a few weak moments, "Listen Now" is ripe for discovery for rock fans and progressive fans who like crossover as one of their main ingredients.

 801 Live by 801 album cover Live, 1976
4.08 | 75 ratings

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Review by DePloy

3 stars This supremely talented band rose to the occasion in late summer 1976. Culled from their handful of live appearances, the festivities begin in pristine fashion with the Manzanera showcase "Lagrima". Accordingly, the melody dreamingly drifts into an updated Beatles cover "Tomorrow Never Knows". The band masters the imagery evoked from the original, adding arena rock panache to fit their operatic vocal style. A marvelous start to a wholly enjoyable album that allows the instrumental talents of each individual to shine. The only misstep is an unceremonious cover of the perennial "You Really Got Me". The band fails to capture the raw rock energy the Kinks breathe into their classic, and 801 makes it sounds moribund and flat. It's eerily reminiscent of English lightweight Dave Mason turning "All Along the Watchtower" into googly eyed pop dreck.

"East of Asteroid" is great rockified fusion, "Sombre Reptiles" works as an effective Eno vehicle and "Third Uncle" is an enjoyably frenetic 5:15 essay in sonic paranoia.

This record should be of interest to those who enjoy the fringes of American classic rock radio and the fringes of the popular prog scene of the day. A four star album wounded by one poor song choice.

 801 Live by 801 album cover Live, 1976
4.08 | 75 ratings

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Review by friso
Prog Reviewer

2 stars 801 Live (1976)

This band with Phil Manzanera (Roxy Music, Quiet Sun, solo, later Divid Gilmour) and Brian Eno (the electro pioneer) recorded a live album with material from the different member their groups. It is often hailed as one of the better recorded live albums of the seventies, but I'm not that impressed to be honest. I was mainly interested in the Quit Sun tracks, which is one of my favorite progalbums. Furthermore I was thinking about investigating the Manzanera albums under his own name, of which the track Diamond Head is on the tracklist.

I've listened to the record a couple of times and I must admit it is a bit of a dissapointment. I like the Quiet Sun tracks and Rotwang improved quit a lot, but most of the other tracks are way to poppy for my tastes. Especially the tedious 'Baby's on Fire' and the poorly sung 'Miss Shapiro' are track that really want me to raise the needle. Having that said, the rhythmical section of the band sounds really tight and the good moments have a great amount of energy in it. The guitars of Manzanera sound great.

Conclusion. Perhaps best enjoyed when you are a fan of Roxy Music and Brian Eno. Properly recorded seventies crossover prog record with strong instrumental tracks and weak songs. Two and a halve stars.

 Listen Now by 801 album cover Studio Album, 1977
3.47 | 44 ratings

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Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

2 stars 801 could pass for a weak ALAN PARSONS PROJECT album. While a few of the tracks have interesting motifs - "Listen Now" and "City of Lights" among them, they overstay their welcome particularly with respect to the monotonous funky rhythms. The cast is not at fault, but the compositions are weak, the mood is lackadaisical, and the arrangements stall on one or two simplistic ideas. The main exception is the jazzy "Initial Speed" instrumental, which flows in the manner of some of the better tracks on Camel's "Rain Dances", and playfully tosses in contributions from the renowned supporting artists. I admit to a weakness for "Law and Order", which is more poppy but with a dash of dystopian paranoia, Ultimately, "Listen Now" doesn't bring enough to the table to warrant consideration except for fans of Manzanera and/or one or more of the session artists, which, on second look, cover just about everyone here. 2.5 stars rounded down
 801 Live by 801 album cover Live, 1976
4.08 | 75 ratings

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Review by tarkus1980
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Phil Manzanera and Brian Eno always brought out the best in each other, so it shouldn't be a tremendous surprise that they'd make a really good live album together around their primes. Roxy Music was on hiatus, and Brian hadn't done much lately except for helping Manzanera out on a solo album and on another side project (a band called Quiet Sun), so when they got the urge to form a temporary band and play a small handful of shows, there was nothing to stop them. 801 (named after the chorus to "The True Wheel," obviously) only played 3 shows, but they decided to record the last one, and an album made from the recordings was released a couple of months afterwards. It's often praised as one of the absolute greatest live albums of all time, and while I definitely wouldn't go that far, it's one that I enjoy and respect plenty.

If there's any significant issue with the album, it's that the band was a little short on material, and the album (about 48 minutes, and even the deluxe edition, which I don't have, is only about an hour) reflects this. Despite the fact that I file this under Brian Eno in my collection, three of the tracks are from Manzanera's solo album Diamond Head and two are based on material from Mainstream (the Quiet Sun album), and while the Manzanera- based tracks are good on the whole, they're not quite compelling enough for me to call them great. The best tracks from this group are "Diamond Head," an atmospheric and kinda jazzy instrumental (where the guitar is heavily treated to sound like a synth), and "Miss Shapiro," an up-tempo borderline glam-rock number with Eno's vocals going like it's 1974 and he's making Tiger Mountain again. The opening "Lagrima" is basically just an extended introduction (not a bad one, but it's clearly just walk-on music), "East of Asteroid" is a fairly interesting dose of astral-prog (not much like anything from solo Eno or from Roxy Music, that's for sure) that features some nice twists and turns, and "Rongwrong" has guitar and synth parts that make it sound like a leftover from Another Green World but doesn't have an especially compelling vocal part. Overall, this chunk isn't bad, but it doesn't really seem like the main feature.

The rest of the album consists of three solo Eno tracks and two covers. The big surprise from the Eno group is "Sombre Reptiles," which sounds essentially the same as in the original and yet much more fluid and lively, and it works much better in a live context than I'd have ever imagined. "Baby's On Fire" is great but not quite as great as the original (no matter how good Manzanera's solo is, it can't live up to The Greatest Guitar Solo Of All Time), but the closing "Third Uncle" is a blazing glam-rock monster, with Eno snapping out the lyrics in his inimitable way and Phil firing out his solos and riffs in a way that once more reminds me why he's one of my favorite guitarists. If you can listen to this version of "Third Uncle" while jogging and not feel compelled to run a mile-per-hour faster than usual, I don't understand you.

Meanwhile, the covers are fantastic. The first one is of "Tomorrow Never Knows," where only the basic vocal melody is preserved (with Eno singing) and the music is almost like a space-jazz deconstruction of the original, and while it doesn't have all of the goofy tape loops and sound effects stuffed into it, what's here is great. The other cover is of "You Really Got Me," coming out of "Miss Shapiro," with Eno's synth bloops working in perfect tandem with the growling guitar riffs, and the moment where the crowd is faded into the mix (the crowd is usually mixed completely out) and you can hear them going nuts is intoxicating.

All in all, the material isn't perfect, but it's really good overall, and the production of the album (for various technical reasons this is one of the best-sounding live albums made to this point) makes the good material sound really great. Any serious fan of Eno should own this, and it's a great reminder of how much material with Eno on vocals could rock out back in the day.

 801 Live by 801 album cover Live, 1976
4.08 | 75 ratings

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Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars I am not normally a fan of live albums, nor am I much of a Phil Manzanera fan, but this release did happen to capture some one-of-a-kind magic and we in prog world are so much the luckier for it! A true "all-star band" with the likes of Phil Manzanera on guitar, Brian Eno singing, playing keyboards, synthesiser, and guitar, while also running tapes, Lloyd Watson on slide guitar and background vocals, Francis Monkman on Fender Rhodes and clavinet, Bill MacCormick on bass and background vocals, and Simon Phillips on drums and "rhythm box." A lineup like that alone deserves some attention, but then to produce the quality of recorded songs--from a live format!--is something short of miraculous! The opening free-form guitar instrumental lets the listener know who's in charge here (Phil) but when it bleeds into their version of The Beatles' "Tomorrow Never Knows" ("T.N.K."), one cannot help but be surprised and impressed. In fact, this is still my favorite version of the song. The band is so tight, with Eno's sublime vocals and the keyboard flourishes constant and textural. Awesome. "East of Asteroid" is a heavier, jazzier instrumental with Phil on display but all in support playing with full vim. (And vigor). Simon and bill's work, in particular, in the bridges impress me the most. As East abruptly stops the band bleeds directly into the slower, synth-based "Rongwrong" with amazing sensitivity and control. It's just amazing that an ad hoc band can come together with this kind of timing. Eno's singing here sounds as if it comes straight off of his "Before and After Science"--though there are couple of pitch issues here, but, then, it's a live performance: mistakes happen. Still, a good song. "Sombre Reptiles" is again a bleed over from the previous song with programmed drum and tape samples carrying the song while percussionists play over the top and then the JAPAN-like guitar-driven melody takes over as the driver. Bass, drum, and clavinet play here stand out on this three minute long Latin groove. Side Two starts with a funked up version of Eno's classic "Baby's on Fire." Here we get to hear Manzanera playing some decent lead--alternating with Lloyd Watson's slide guitar--taking on the Fripp and Paul Rudolph parts from the original. Great energy! Next the album transitions into Manzanera's "Diamond Head" via Francis Monkman's clavinet and Rhodes play. Though Phil is a favorite on many prog lovers' top guitar lists, I've never been able to join the club, and the flaws on this album--even here, on his own song--are perfect illustrations as to why. His timing while using the effects he uses (here, very STEVE HILLAGE-like) is often way off. Nice melodies, I admit, but not a great guitarist, IMO. Still, a nice song, though rather simple and flat in structure and dynamics. "Miss Shapiro" is a straight on rocker (complete with prominent cowbell!) with a kind of Skynyrd "What's that Smell" sound and feel to it. While it works, based on the nice lead guitar parts, it's the awesome Eno vocal that makes this one a keeper. Then it transitions directly into the band's version of The Kinks' "You Really Got Me"--a stripped down, multi-voiced affair that has a different, almost tongue-in-cheek, punk-rock RAMONES-like feel to it. The finale is called "Third Uncle" and it starts out sounding like a Roger Waters or Pink Fairies affair, rocking with increasing speed and abandon, it turns into a fun jam with all band members treating it as if it's their In retrospect, it's Side One of this vinyl album that I always gravitated to with Side Two receiving infrequent visits. But, that Side One is one heck of a side! And the second side, albeit more straightforward rock, is still of amazing caliber and creativity. Five stars; a masterpiece of live prog and one of the few great, inventive, and refreshing live all-star jams I've ever encountered.
 801 Live by 801 album cover Live, 1976
4.08 | 75 ratings

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Review by Vinyl Connection

5 stars Short lived and fascinating, 801 burned briefly but brightly in the (northern) summer of 1976 then disappeared. The band brought together Brian Eno, late of Roxy Music, pal Phil Manzanera, Roxy guitarissimo, Simon Phillips (whose diverse list of drum credits deserves a dedicated article), Francis Monkman (Curved Air), well-respected jobbing guitarist Lloyd Watson and bassist Bill MacCormick (Quiet Sun, Matching Mole). The recording was of their last concert and used the recent technical innovation of sending the instrument signals straight into the mixing desk (rather than mic-ing up the stage amps). Result? Possibly the best sounding 'live' album to date. Musically it is wonderfully varied, rocking with complex interplay and mischievous energy; their interpretation of The Beatles 'Tomorrow Never Knows' (here called TNK) is justly famous. But there is much more than creative covers here. Eno's songs are delivered with power and punch, Manzanera's guitar pieces are melodic and inviting while for fans of the often overlooked Quiet Sun album the inclusion of 'Rongwrong' is a delight. An album ultimately impossible to categorise ? rock-fusion-progressive-alternative anyone? ? it remains an enduring delight. The recent 'Collector's Edition' adds a disc of rehearsal recordings: an interesting though inessential addition. www.vinylconnection.com.au
 801 Live by 801 album cover Live, 1976
4.08 | 75 ratings

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801 Live
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Review by tboyd1802

5 stars The year was 1978. My first year of college. Ah, the memories. One of those was being introduced to progressive rock, I'm sure like many, with my first introduction to Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon. But that's a different review.

At some point, I don't remember when, where or why, I picked up this album as a cut out at our local record shop. Hopefully, there are others out there that remember cut outs. Any way, I was totally blown away by this album. In fact, the guy in the dorm room next to us decided to quit school and become a professional drummer based on the drumming in this album. I don't know how he fared, but I do know that Simon Phillips is absolutely phenomenal on this effort.

The songs on this album are either from Quiet Sun, Brian Eno, Phil Manzanera or cover versions of other artists. Unlike some, I find the live versions of the Quiet Sun songs better than the studio versions. They seem to me to have more energy and life. Ditto the Phil Manzanera songs. The Eno songs, as expected, are quirky and wonderful. But for me the real gems are the cover songs. TNK (Beatles) and You Really Got Me Now (Kinks) are worth the price of admission themselves. Both are memorable and extend the originals into weird and wonderful new territory.

To this day, this remains my favorite all-time live progressive rock album. I believe, maybe with a great deal of sentiment, that this album is an absolute must in any progressive rock fan's collection. Definitely a 5 out of 5.

 801 Live by 801 album cover Live, 1976
4.08 | 75 ratings

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Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This was a Phil Manzanera side project that did three live gigs in August / September of 1976. This album captures one of those nights where the band was firing on all cylinders. And what a lneup ! The core of this band was in the QUIET SUN band that released their one record the year before (1975) and included Manzanera, Eno and MacCormick. That same core lineup was also in Manzanera's first solo album called "Diamond Head". Of course Eno and Manzanera were in ROXY MUSIC together as well earlier. Add Simon Phillips on drums, Francis Monkman (CURVED AIR) on Fender Rhodes and Lloyd Watson an slide guitar. All of these songs were previously known to me which was cool. Three and a half from "Diamond Head", one and a half from QUIET SUN's "Mainstream", three from three different Eno solo albums and then two covers. One from THE BEATLES and one from THE KINKS. I have to say the Fender Rhodes and bass work are fantastic, and i've always liked Manzanera's guitar work. Eno is on vocals (and other things) and does a really good job.

I should mention that most of these songs blend into one another. "La Grima" from "Diamond Head" features Manzanera doing his thing on guitar and it's impressive. "T.N.K. (Tomorrow Never Knows) is THE BEATLES cover and they make it sound different enough from the original to make it interesting. The rhythm is catchy and how about the bass playing. Killer sound before 5 1/2 minutes as it gets more intense. "East Of Asteroid" combines two songs. One from "Mainstream" called "Mummy Was An Asteroid..." and from "Diamond Head" "East Of Echo". The drumming is prominant early on then it settles but not for long as the guitar comes in lighting it up as the drums stampede. It settles again as we get some raw guitar and electric piano. So freaking good. "Rongwrong" is from QUIET SUN's "Mainstream". Atmosphere and a beat to start and it will close the same way. Vocals and a fuller sound inbetween. "Sombre Reptiles" from Eno's Another Green World" is next and it sounds amazing when it picks up and gets fuller.

"Baby's On Fire" is also from ENO but from "Here Comes The Warm Jets". Lots of energy and the guitar rips it up 2 minutes in. "Diamond Head" has some tasteful guitar early on then it all gets heavier. Love the electric piano 5 minutes in. "Miss Shapiro" is from "Diamond Head" as well. Just a killer instrumental intro. Vocals before 2 minutes. Love the guitar in this one. "You Really Got Me" is a cover of THE KINKS popular song and well done. "Third Uncle" ends it from Eno's Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy)". It sounds like PINK FLOYD until it kicks in to an uptempo groove. The guitar is killer. Vocals after a minute. Lots of energy and the bass is incredible.

For me this is a high 4 star album. Highly recommended to Eno, Manzanera and ROXY MUSIC fans.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition.

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