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NICK MAGNUS

Symphonic Prog • United Kingdom


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Nick Magnus biography
Nick Magnus is a composer, keyboard player and producer, starting his musical career in early 1976 with the cult symphonic rock ensemble The ENID. After that Magnus joined a band which was called AUTUMN. They recorded some tracks but it wasn't until 1999 the recordings were released on a mini CD. Magnus is most known for his work with the formal GENESIS guitarist Steve HACKETT. In 1978 HACKETT put a band together for touring with the "Please Don't Touch" material. When HACKETT recorded the next album "Spectral Mornings" Magnus was playing the keyboards and wrote some of the music as well. They released another magnificent album "Defector" but after that the band fell apart. When HACKETT released "Cured", Magnus was the only musician to appear on that album. After that they released two more albums on which HACKETT and Magnus were accompanied by various session musicians. After his adventure with GTR HACKETT recorded another album with Magnus and several well known vocalists. At the time the record business had completely lost interest in the GENESIS guitar hero, it wasn't until 2001 "Feedback 86" was released.

Meanwhile Magnus played the keyboards for progressive and mainstream rock albums of Duncan Browne, China Crisis, RENAISSANCE and many more. Later on Magnus was involved in the production of various compilation projects. In 1993 Magnus released his first solo effort "Straight On Until Morning". This album was a typical product of a keyboard player : very smooth but barely exciting album. In 1999 Magnus released "Inhaling The Green". This album was more exciting to listen to and contained a lot of other influences. In 2004 Nick Magnus created his masterpiece "Hexameron". This album has a sound which is much more organic than his other solo projects. "Hexameron" is a return to form for Magnus. More than ever it is clear that this man's contribution to the sound of Steve HACKETT was essential.

: : : Jan Holvoet, BELGIUM : : :

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HexameronHexameron
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Audio CD$52.79
$34.98 (used)
Children Of Another GodChildren Of Another God
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NICK MAGNUS discography


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

2.02 | 4 ratings
Straight on Till Morning
1993
3.51 | 10 ratings
Inhaling Green
1999
3.62 | 25 ratings
Hexameron
2004
3.90 | 68 ratings
Children Of Another God
2010
0.00 | 0 ratings
N'monix
2014

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NICK MAGNUS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Straight on Till Morning by MAGNUS, NICK album cover Studio Album, 1993
2.02 | 4 ratings

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Straight on Till Morning
Nick Magnus Symphonic Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

2 stars Humble beginnings

Straight On Till Morning was the first solo album by Nick Magnus, best known for being the keyboard player in Steve Hackett's band. Here he went at it alone for the first time and the results are far from impressive. There is nothing here pointing towards later and much, much better albums like Children Of Another God (2010), Hexameron (2004), and Inhaling Green (1999), and neither does anything here remind of Magnus' important contributions to Hackett's albums in the late 70's and early 80's. This album is more towards the easy-listening category and it too often reminds me of what you would hear from one of those men doing instrumental MIDI covers of familiar Pop songs in a bar! That description is admittedly a bit unfair, but it comes too close for comfort.

Still, this is not a bad album of its kind, but merely an album of a bad kind. It does have some nicer moments, and it is pleasant enough as background music, or perhaps it would have worked as film or television music. But there is just nothing challenging whatsoever here and it leaves no lasting impressions. You neither need nor are likely to want to hear this more than once.

This is where it began for Nick Magnus, but it is not where you should begin with Nick Magnus. I would recommend investigating his solo discography in reverse chronological order (beginning with the very good Children Of Another God), and only the true fan and collector need go back as far as Straight On Till Morning.

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 Inhaling Green by MAGNUS, NICK album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.51 | 10 ratings

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Inhaling Green
Nick Magnus Symphonic Prog

Review by richardh
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is an excellent modern instrumental prog album.Nick embraces technology and creates several well constructed peices of music culminating with the beautifull Inhaling Green 16 minute suite.Plenty of variety and scope in the ideas,well worth checking out.Some of the music reminds me of Mike Oldfield's Songs Of Distant Earth with its textures and use of vocals.There is no 'real' drums though which may put some people off.John Hackett weighs in with some nice flute work on 2 of the tracks.There is also a very nice version of George Martin's Theme One which was well covered previously by Van Der Graaf Generator and the late great Cozy Powell. Overall a very decent effort that would merit 3.5 stars rounded up to 4.

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 Inhaling Green by MAGNUS, NICK album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.51 | 10 ratings

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Inhaling Green
Nick Magnus Symphonic Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars Anatomy of Magnus' mind

I've had for some years the two most recent album releases from Nick Magnus, Hexameron (2004) and Children Of Another God (2010). But his first two solo albums, Straight On Till Morning (1993) and the present one (from 1999), eluded me until recently (when a fellow Prog Archives member helped me to find them, for which I am grateful).

Inhaling Green is very much of a solo album in that Magnus plays (almost) everything himself. In addition he is also the producer and the engineer. Though he plays other instruments as well, it is clear that this is very much of a keyboard player's album - which I like. The music is at times jazzy, at others symphonic, at yet other times he ventures into electronic music, and some more folky atmopheres can be found as well. It is thus a rather eclectic mix. But Magnus manages well to fit everything into a reasonably coherent set of tracks. There are some nice flute parts played by John Hackett (the brother of Steve Hackett, with whom Magnus is most known for being the keyboard player during the late 70's and early 80's). Though Steve does not appear here, as he would do on Magnus more recent albums, the guitar parts are in his style.

This album is entirely instrumental except some keyboard generated voices on Cantus and some real but wordless vocals as well as some spoken word passages on the 16 plus minute, three-part title track. The best tracks come in at the beginning and at the end of the album with some weaker moments in the middle. The two weakest tracks are in my opinion the aforementioned Cantus (a chant over Dance rhythms) and Dixon Hill (a "bouncy" Jazz number with Brass instruments and annoying whistling!). Conquistador is pleasant enough, but sound a little bit too much like an intro to something that never comes. Theme One sounds rather like a version of ELP in which Carl Palmer has been replaced by a drum machine. This is a triumphant, fanfare-like, keyboard-driven tune in the style of Fanfare For The Common Man. In general the weakest aspect of this album lies in the rhythm department. With a proper drummer to back him up instead of relying on programmed drums, this album would most probably have sounded better.

Nonetheless, this is a good album as it stands that was an improvement over the solo debut and that sits well beside the follow-up Hexameron.

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 Inhaling Green by MAGNUS, NICK album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.51 | 10 ratings

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Inhaling Green
Nick Magnus Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars Throughout the 90's Nick Magnus eventually met some chart success through the Project D ''Synthesizer''albums and his new collaborations with the ''Pan Pipe Moods'' albums, as well as working as a producer for Celtic Spirit in a move towards more Ethnic-flavored creations.However, another solo album was released in 1999 on Centaur Discs, ''Inhaling green'', finding him again responsible for the composing and production of his solo effors, receiving help by John Hackett on flutes, If's last guitarist and long time Procol Harum member Geoff Whitehorn and female singer Clare Brigstocke.

The problem with Magnus' personal albums is that his undenied talent is not always translate into great compositions, fortunately the first couple of tracks offer moments of joy to the listener and that is a good sign indeed.The Neo-proggish ''Velociraptor'' contains some great, dynamic synthesizer parts, while ''Free the spirit'' (linked with his work on the ''Pan Pipe Moods'' albums) is absolutely fantastic OLDFIELD-ian Prog Folk with some stunning melodies around, despite its ambiental atmosphere.''The devil and the deep blue sea'' is another fine Neo/Symphonic/Art Rock track with intricate keyboard parts and melodious guitar themes, a bit similar to KEVIN PEEK and STEVE HACKETT's efforts from early-80's.''Cantus'' is closer to New Wave/Synth Music with Brigstocke present, like singing in a Gregorian chant, but the keyboard and drum parts are totally hillarious.With ''Conquistador'' Magnus offers another OLDFIELD-ian soundscape in sometype of Orchestral Folk Rock with a cinematic mood, but the following ''Dixon hill'' is very cheap Jazz/Fusion with a pleasant tune but a childish atmosphere.John Hackett's presence on the melancholic, cinematic ''Veil of sighs'' is a guarantee of delicate flute parts among the Celtic-inspired textures and another decent piece comes with ''Theme One'', a symphonic-oriented cut, that could have been an excellent short prelude if it wasn't for the plastic keyboards and drums, but certainly Magnus' musical ideas offer memorable passages in a Neo-Prog atmosphere.The 16-min. self-titled track delivers all the previous sounds in one composition: From New Age calm soundscapes to folky OLDFIELD-ian washes to bombastic Symphonic Prog in the vein of CAIRO with both orchestral moves and clean, electrical guitars in the forefront.

Magnus' second album is a pure and sincere piece of Prog/Art Music, coming from his heart and his deep influences.From grandiose Symphonic Rock to elegant Folk, it contains plenty of nice, little moments to reward a listener with an open mind.Recommended.

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 Hexameron  by MAGNUS, NICK album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.62 | 25 ratings

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Hexameron
Nick Magnus Symphonic Prog

Review by sinslice

4 stars Instrumental musical art

With some vocal units, and parts of rock here and there. Of course, excel and dominate Magnus keyboards and synthesizers. Very well accompanied by the Hackett brothers, and Geoff Whitehorn on guitar.

My disappointment lies in the sampled drums and bass, and ghostly vocals towards the end. Marduk is one of two songs with lyrics, sung mostly by Anthony Patterson. Brother Sun Sister Moon is another song with lyrics and is a bit more noticeable, for me.

Worth mentioning that in many parts of the album the drums achieve a good accompaniment, as in the first two issues, and Seven Hands of Time.

Sophia's Song is a delight that contains good licks with flute and well sung by Clare Brigstocke and enjoyable parts of viola and violin too. Beautiful!

Something similar happens with Double Helix, although instrumental, and less extensive. With nice flute on a keyboard and acoustic guitar.

Seven Hands of Time has the unmistakable involvement of Steve Hackett, as well as the final three minutes to close in good form The Power of Reason, and also the work.

It's an album somewhat varied, but undoubtedly very tasteful.

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 Straight on Till Morning by MAGNUS, NICK album cover Studio Album, 1993
2.02 | 4 ratings

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Straight on Till Morning
Nick Magnus Symphonic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

2 stars British keyboardist,born in Emsworth, Hampshire in 1955.He started his career next to Robert John Godfrey with The Enid,which he left in 1976 to join the progresive rock band Autumn.By 1978 Autumn had disbandeed and the future found Nick Magnus next to Steve Hackett,with whom he spent eleven years both on studio and on stage.During the 80's he would also work as a session keyboardist for various artists,among them Renaissance,Peter Bardens of Camel and Chris Rea.Since 1990 Nick Magnus followed a personal career and in 1993 he released his debut album ''Straight On Till Morning'' on Voiceprint.

Nick plays and arranges all instruments on this album,except on a couple of tracks,where he is helped by guitarist Jay Stapley of Roger Waters and Mike Oldfield fame.The instrumental album has a dreamy and optimistic view all the way with melodic solos on guitars and ethereal keyboards and piano,often with an evident symphonic tendency.However the overall sound is not that adventurous.It has a strong commercial vibe met also both in Hackett's and Oldfield's later works with Magnus only trying to produce pleasant,cheesy and happy pieces of orchestrated music despite his good skills,while part of his keyboard work sounds very cheap.Additionally the sampled flutes,percussion and wind instruments sounds very dull as well.The lack of additional instruments is a matter of discussion too.On the other hand most of them are well-arranged,the production is bright and clear and some of them contain hints of good Symphonic Rock music with a New Age atmosphere.And the guitars,where present,are fine, producing some good melodies.

''Straight On Till Morning'' is a classic example of an albumcontaining all the light mistakes of a debut as well as a one-man project.One-dimensional style with plenty of ups and downs,the album has good chances to be likeable only as background music.Not exactly recommended,except you search for some good and pleasant background music.

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 Children Of Another God by MAGNUS, NICK album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.90 | 68 ratings

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Children Of Another God
Nick Magnus Symphonic Prog

Review by lazland
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is a pleasant surprise, and one of the highlights of 2010, a year which, musically, is shaping up to be a very good one.

Magnus was at the back of my mind as a former keyboard player with Steve Hackett and with his time with The Enid, but I wasn't aware he was recording as a solo artist until I saw reviews for this album on the site.

To be honest, I took a punt and brought this album solely because the great Hackett brothers themselves feature largely on this work, and, given I have all of Steve's solo work, I figured that I would get this by way of completing his work.

I am, though, exceptionally happy to report that this album is not a Hackett lite project. This is very much the work of an extremely talented songwriter and musician, who just happened to have some exceptional guests appearing with him.

Of course, you can hear similarities. The opening track, for example, which is also the title track, would certainly not sound out of place on any Hackett solo work.

The instrumentation throughout is excellent, and this is very much reflected in the instrumental Twenty Summers, which has some very good interplay between percussion and keyboards. Magnus is a very good keyboard player, of that you can be sure. This is also evidenced on Crimewave Monkeys, a track which is reminiscent, to me, of Genesis circa the self titled album and, maybe, Abacab. Certainly, the dark feel of this track would not feel out of place, and this is easily the closest Magnus comes to sounding like Banks on the album.

There is only one track in excess of eight minutes here, and that is the title track. The rest all come in at less than seven and a half minutes, and with the shortest, Identity Theft, which has vocals by Magnus himself, there is almost a commercial single waiting to come out. Unfortunately, it is pleasant, without being essential.

The remainder of the vocals are handled by Tony Patterson, Pete Hicks, Andy Neve, and Linda John-Pierre. The latter sings beautifully on The Others, accompanied by delicate and understated acoustic guitar, keyboards, and orchestral simulation. This is, perhaps, the highlight of the album for me, and I will have to explore more fully this lady's work, because she is a huge talent. The chorus is uplifting and sumptuous, and we are treated to Hackett magic in the electric solo. The Hackett solo in Babel Tower is also magnificent.

Other reviewers, by the way, have compared Patterson to Gabriel. I suppose this is true in the almost Lamb like passage in Babel Tower, but, when he sings normally, as it were, there is not really much comparison. He is good enough in his own right to stand alone, anyway, and this is definitely witnessed in the album closer Howl The Stars Down, on which he shines.

All in all, a very good album, thoroughly enjoyable, and a clear attempt to appeal to a wide range of symphonic prog fans, whilst also wanting to pick up those who enjoy the lighter crossover market.

Ratings are always difficult. Probably 3.5 stars in reality, but, then again, four stars signifies an excellent addition to any prog rock collection, and this would certainly qualify for that.

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 Children Of Another God by MAGNUS, NICK album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.90 | 68 ratings

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Children Of Another God
Nick Magnus Symphonic Prog

Review by Marc M

4 stars "Hexameron" was a nice progressive rock work slightly in the vein of Genesis with a somewhat melancholy and even darker edge, as one can find in the repertoire of Steve Hackett and IQ, the whole having symphonic arrangements and an original musical colour. We could say that "Children of another god" starts on the same basis but with subtle changes. This record contains more vocal songs (8 out of 9), even though some of them leave a wide space for instrumental sections, and the melodies are even stronger and more accessible at the same time. And the production is also superior. Nine pieces more or less linked together are featured on this CD, which is approximately 50-minute-long. Among the singers, we have Tony Patterson from ReGenesis, already present on "Hexameron" and John Hackett's "Checking out of London". Here, he doesn't especially emulates Peter Gabriel, but chose to use a clearer and rather soft range. Pete Hicks, whose clear and high-pitched voice has hardly changed in 30 years, is featured on the two most dynamic songs. Andy Neve, who's got also a clear and medium range, is working wonders on the lengthy "The colony is king", a track featuring more instrumental sections with a classical tinge. The female singer Linda John-Pierre enlightens a splendid orchestral ballad thanks to her warm and deep voice and finally, Nick himself, delivers some soft and clear, fairly convincing vocals on "Identity theft", a short, orchestral but slightly jazzy song, also featuring the double-bass player Glenn Tollet (ex-The Enid). The vocals are particularly refined, with a lot of harmonies, as on some of Steve Hackett's songs, past or recent. The album starts with the title track, that is also the longest one (8:27), a kind of orchestral bolero with an unforgettable melody, a beautiful instrumental part and several rhythm changes in the middle. Original and magnificent at the same time. This symphonic edge will come back many times all through the album. "Doctor Prometheus" is slightly more rocky, faster, with some nice instrumental developments ; that's the same for "Crimewaves monkeys" and "Tower of Babel" - at least in its first half, as the main theme of "Children" rises again in the second part. The instrumental "Twenty summers" (4:10) isn't that long but really charming and progressive nonetheless, including numerous themes, light or more serious, a rich mix featuring jerky and slower, heavier rhythms, piano and a pastoral flute, acoustic guitar, powerful organ and swirling synths. One of the highlights of the album is "The colony", without a doubt. This long song is based on different rhythms, a military march then a waltz, features some dark epic moments and two soaring electric guitar solos by Steve Hackett plus some pastoral flute by his brother John, some wonderful mellotron strings and a virtual orchestra. And finally, Magnus managed to fill his slower songs with some palpable emotion, as on the richly orchestrated "The others", featuring the lyrical and warm voice of Linda John-Pierre or the melancholy finale "Howl the stars down" where Tony Patterson is deeply moving. Some melodies like these should sell by millions, honestly. One has to read the credits to realize that everything or almost is done with keyboards and synths. Though, drums, bass and electric or acoustic guitars are incredibly realistic? but virtual - everywhere except on "The colony" where it is actually Steve Hackett who plays ! Magnus achieved a true tour-de-force in this department ! This record hasn't got in any way the faults of those done by keyboard players who do everything by themselves. About keyboards, by the way, Magnus found some new and even more splendid sonic colours to depict his musical ideas. He's got a whole array of textures at his disposal : mellotron strings and choirs, virtual orchestra, minimoog, Hammond organ, electric piano with a brilliant Yamaha CS80-type sound, and some more abstract textures. As he points out himself, Magnus prefers to build some big symphonic instrumental parts, rather than letting himself go into swirling keyboard solos, and that's not a bad thing. Nick Magnus the composer is far superior compared to so many virtuosos whose output isn't on par with their technical abilities that they show off with more or less taste. But all this doesn't exclude a few inspired solos by him anyway ! If you like symphonic progressive rock or just the most romantic side of Genesis, Tony Banks and Steve Hackett, this record is the best you could imagine?. a work of amazing melodic, emotional, and technical quality. This is The Unexpected Gem of 2010 ! Nick is unfortunately not seeling much , even compared to progressive rock artists like IQ or Pallas.. So please do the effort to buy directly from him, if possible. He is as modest as talented and we should support him if we want to hear something as magnificent as this album again in the future.

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 Children Of Another God by MAGNUS, NICK album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.90 | 68 ratings

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Children Of Another God
Nick Magnus Symphonic Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I didn´t remember who Nick magnus was when I saw this album on the store shelf. It was only later that I remebered he was the keyboards player with ex Genesis guitarrist Steve Hackett in the late 70´s. Also I came to know he was also a member of The Enid at the very beginning, but he left before that group had released their first LP (I recently read that some early recordings did appear on the market as an mini CD, more than 20 years later). I was glad to see that Hackett, algong with his brother John, were playing in this CD. That spurred my curiosity.

Children Of Another God is a concept album criticizing today´s techonologycal way towards massification and conformism. As a whole I found it to be very interesting and varied, although, like on most concept albums, the flow is a bit uneven on some parts as the music has to follow the lyrics. However, there are great moments too, with a lot of guitar playing here, something not very common concerning keyboardists solo effords. Not surprisingly there are several moments when the music sounds like Steve Hackett´s works (Spectral Mornings and Defector specially), with a sort fo mid 70´s Genesis thrown in for good measure (beautiful mellotrons on the first two tracks). On the other side, the vocals and a few of the arrangements reminds me a lot of Alan Parsons Project around the time of I Robot and Eve.

Production is top notch and the musicianship is simply excellent. The cover is bad, but I can live with that.

All in all I found this album extremely pleasant and charming, even if the last segment of the CD is not as captivating as the first and middle parts. A great find and if you´re a fan of Steve Hackett, Genesis and Alan Parsons, you should check this out. You won´t be disappointed. My rating keeps shifting form 3,5 to 4 stars when I listen to this record. I´ll give it four since it is more than just good.

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 Children Of Another God by MAGNUS, NICK album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.90 | 68 ratings

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Children Of Another God
Nick Magnus Symphonic Prog

Review by Marty McFly
Special Collaborator Crossover and E&O Teams

4 stars Starting with magically enchanted eponymous track, Nick Magnus proves that he isn't minor Rock person, but rather one of the "better" guys in business. Like reminder of childhood dreams and lullabies, this song has enormous nostalgic power. These melodies in general are basically simple, just edited and worked out that they are closing Prog goal in order to be interesting.

Some of you may remember one PC game released about 10 years ago, NOLF - No One Lives Forever. There is also prominent use of Xylophone, same as here (or at least something that sounds like Xylophone), but in the game it was supposed to bring back the atmosphere of 50's / 60's spy movies. Here, strings are added (or synths that sounds similar) and also flute is trying to do something and this symphony it creates works actually quite well. Very well.

Sadly, sometimes songs get too annoying like in case of Doctor Prometheus - I wasn't able to overcome this after so many listens that I think it's something inevitable for me.

Probably the best example would be first part of The Colony Is King. In the middle this song breaks down to more dark repeat of first part. Crimewave Monkeys sounds like, ahem, soundtrack of some kind of TV movie or Army Action video game.

There is also something like main theme repeated through some tracks, most prominently first and last of course, but others do have these traits too, even often edited, changed.

4(+) as I said, this record has big nostalgic value for me and that's something that I can appreciate.

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