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PHIL MANZANERA

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Phil Manzanera biography
Phil Manzanera is best known for being one of the all time members and guitar player of Roxy Music. He was raised on various locations like Cuba, Hawaii and Venzuela. His musical influences containing elements from both rock and Latin music. Prior to his membership of RM, he was one of the founding members of Quiet sun. Their self titled debut wasn't recorded before he got in the studio to record his solo debut album which appeared at the end of 1975. "Diamond head" surprised many when it hit the English charts. The mainly instrumental album is an impressive mixture of Roxy Music, rock, progressive rock, jazzrock, avant-garde and Latin. The album was recorded with the help of all his fellow RM & Quiet sun colleagues including Brian Eno & Robert Wyatt. Despite the bizarre combination of various musical influences the music is very accessible. The following year 801 was formed and the band hit the road with a track listing that includes material from Quiet sun & Diamond head. In the hiatus between the Roxy Music albums from 1975 till 1979 there were two albums released from 801, Manzanera contributed also to various recording sessions for Brian Eno, Brian Ferry & John Cale and issued "K-scope" his second solo record in 1978. After Roxy music split up in 1983 he joined forces with Andy MacKay & James Wraith to form the short lived "The explorer's" who broke up after releasing just one record. A second record was shelved and would get released several years later under the name of Manzanera/macKay. Meanwhile he released "primitive guitars" his third solo effort in 1982. In 1987 he teamed up with long time collaborator John Wetton and they released an album full of melodic pop songs. During the same decade he worked with Steve Winwood, David Gilmour, Tim Finn, Godley & creme as a writer and producer. One track which he co-wrote with David Gilmour ended up on the Pink Floyd record "A momentary lapse of reason". In 1990 he released two adventurous albums on which he explored his latin roots further on. For the rest of the decade he concentrated on live gigs even though some reissues appeared for the first time on cd. In 1999 he released an album in which he played lush ambient music. After 18 years, Roxy music reunited for a tour in 2001. That year he released "Vozero" with Robert Wyatt doing much of the vocals. In 2003 he appeared as a session musician on the next Robert Wyatt effort along the likes of Brian Eno & David Gilmour. In 2004 & 2005 he released t...read more

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PHIL MANZANERA discography


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

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

4.21 | 45 ratings
Diamond Head
1975
3.42 | 21 ratings
K-scope
1978
3.90 | 13 ratings
Primitive guitars
1982
3.87 | 4 ratings
Southern Cross
1990
3.80 | 5 ratings
Mato grosso
1990
3.00 | 2 ratings
A Million Reasons Why
1997
3.00 | 1 ratings
Nowomowa: Wasted Lands (soundtrack)
1999
3.92 | 7 ratings
Vozero
1999
4.00 | 13 ratings
6pm
2004
3.57 | 13 ratings
50 minutes later
2005
4.46 | 9 ratings
Firebird V11
2008

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

0.00 | 0 ratings
Live at the Karl Marx
1993

PHIL MANZANERA Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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

3.92 | 5 ratings
Guitarissimo 75 - 82
1986
4.00 | 2 ratings
The Manzanera Collection
1995
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Manzanera Archives Rare One
2000
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Music 1972 - 2008
2008

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

PHIL MANZANERA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Diamond Head by MANZANERA, PHIL album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.21 | 45 ratings

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Diamond Head
Phil Manzanera Prog Related

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Phil Manzanera's debut solo album is blessed by an excellently-chosen range of guests reflecting all the different dimensions of his solo career. Robert Wyatt is the first to make his presence felt on Frontera, but the Canterbury influence doesn't stop there because you have contributions from Quiet Sun. On the Roxy Music side of the equation, former member Brian Eno gives a vocal performance and provides some some writing contributions reminiscent of his early solo work (particularly Taking Tiger Mountain By Strategy) and current Roxy members Andy MacKay and Eddie Jobson guest as well.

Add some more guests - such as John Wetton, who'd only just crawled out of the wreckage of King Crimson - and you have a fearsome amount of talent gathered on one album, and what's particularly pleasing is how incredibly consistent it all is, Manzanera showing a real knack for drawing these disparate performances together into a coherent whole. Oh, and he plays a really mean guitar too.

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 6pm by MANZANERA, PHIL album cover Studio Album, 2004
4.00 | 13 ratings

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6pm
Phil Manzanera Prog Related

Review by admireArt
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars The best so far! Why? Phil Manzanera cuts it short with the insisnting "Latin" flavor of most of his songs. This guy may not be a "natural" songwriter but in the proper atmosphere; he can work out some great songs; scarce; but great. In 6PM he manages to hold an entire album; without the aid of some of his "solutions" to music. Of course the guy usually accompanies himself with a great group of very well known musicians; and this work is no exception. But what really makes it tick; is precisely that in this project he lets others make full; uninhibited participations. So it feels more surprising when you in contrast; listen to the Latin-fusion he normally works with. In my opinion; his best songs except for "Southern Cross" are normally non Latin fusioned based; or at least more balanced in that regard. So... polished songs, outstandind musician; nothing could turn wrong; with Phil you never know; but "6:PM" proved me wrong; Yes! Phil Manzanera is able to run through an entire album; with grace and restraint in an all great songs and astounsing performance project, To be honest I never thought he could pull it off; But he did. 4 "well worth the wait Stars"

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 Firebird V11 by MANZANERA, PHIL album cover Studio Album, 2008
4.46 | 9 ratings

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Firebird V11
Phil Manzanera Prog Related

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

5 stars Phil Manzanera's latest work is further proof of this legendary guitarist/composer's talent at creating a distinctive discography, each album diverse from the other, infusing a sundry of detailed elements that broaden the spectrum of styles. There have been sensational recordings, from the wonderfully original Diamond Head, the dark-prog pop of K-Scope and Listen Now, the Latino-tinged Southern Cross and Vozero, as well as the 6pm and 50 Minutes Later combo of eclectic prog. Ever since his Roxy Music days, the guitarist has stretched the boundaries of electric guitar playing (Primitive Guitars) by expressing scintillating restrained riffs and notes on the lower scale while occasionally foraging screaming bursts of soaring leads that never overstay their welcome. The man was never going to win the longest solo contest, as its anathema to his muse. His implement of choice is the iconic Gibson Firebird V11, a visually spectacular axe that sits throned with the Flying V, Stratocaster, Les Paul and SGs in the pantheon of rock guitar instruments. His elegant power screw driver style is unique as it drills tones and bores textures deep and hard into at times conventional structures that veer often into unparalleled variances, with tinges of experimental, classical, traditional Latino, prog, Canterbury and typical British proto-pop. On the all- instrumental Firebird V11 album, Phil proposes a quartet of technically gifted international stylists from a wide spectrum of genres, featuring acclaimed Polish jazz pianist Leszek Mozdzer, philharmonic bassist Yaron Stavi from Israel and British experimental percussion maestro Charles Hayward , he of This Heat fame (with whom Phil played in pre-Roxy years with Quiet Sun). The osmosis is audibly stunning as each virtuoso remains well within the Manzanera style while contributing immensely with their own mercurial talents. As such, Hayward in particular raises eyebrows, easily one of the most staggering drum displays in recent memory, full of playful bravado and intense dedication. Imagine a record with a classical rumbling bassist, a flourishing piano artist of the highest order and scintillating pulse drumming, all crowned with Phil's active and sensual guitar, lush with thunderbolts of stringed genius. This is what is delivered and in spades!

The opening salvo holds back no punches, stating for the record that this will not be some smooth lounge jazz, sanitized and satinized for some easy listening background cocktail music. Gritty, feral and robust, the theme is rock music without fluff, instead adorned with some barely restrained exaltation. Hayward bashes confidently from the outset, drilling thud after thud, into drum submission, his Israeli partner in for the ride. The famed Brit tongue and cheek humor is encrypted in the title "Fortunately I had One With Me" and the playing is a dexterously applied science in controlled musical chaos, with progressive credentials all around.

"Cartagena" is also the town in Venezuela that is close to Phil's heart and soul and the majestic axe riff is there as proof of a less bombastic (read= explosive) style best exemplified by Carlos Santana, preferring judicious restraint and staying power. The rollicking middle section is breath-taking, all four on supersonic mode without the histrionics. The tropical outro is splendid. "Fireebired" is quirky experimental to the point where there is even a zeuhl feel (haï, haï, haï!) that elicits a smile of recognition each time, a frantic drum beat amid an ocean of odd sounds, bizarre guitar colorations, loopy synths and blitz piano musings and then suddenly exploding into a groove of dissonance, despair and torture. The deranged chanting holds no grounding to any terra firma, spiraling amok and akimbo, helter-skelter and impending argy-bargy (love that word, whatever it means!).

The epic "Mexican Hat" is an improvisational tour de force, a musical sombrero that has all the hallmarks of a prog fiesta, richly festooned by intensity and passion, nervous and sultry adornments in the deliveries, an über-jazz piano and booming drums. More weird chanting and onomatopoeic eructions and a squeaky synth solo before engaging a romantic piano étude that drips off some sweltering icicle. Veering off into a psychedelic cloud, Phil pays homage to his good friend and musical partner Dave Gilmour but inherently in a way more complex and experimental structure. Manzanera holds back the troupe from getting too comfortable, steering the ship masterfully and building up the inevitable crescendo and orgasm. A sensational track! The title track is referring to his legendary and trade-mark red Gibson Firebird V11 guitar purchased for the "For Your Pleasure" album, which Phil is seen displaying in the vinyl gatefold. There is room for Leszek's rivulet piano runs but the guitar solos are all neatly spectacular, a true craftsman at work!

The peak is reached as "A Few Minutes" has some mysterious and romantic spoken word script that evokes some fateful movie's denouement and the cue for the band to play some funeral march. Spooky, eerie, atmospheric and unexpected, the arrangement is like a soundtrack for a demented James Bond movie, where Largo finally has the upper hand and is about to permanently dispatch 007 to some bleak and nameless SAS military cemetery. But its haunting stuff, original as sin and meritorious of the highest praise.

"After Magritte" closes the deal, Magritte being René Magritte, a celebrated Belgian surrealist painter, famous for his faceless bowler hats and a personal favorite of mine. The mood is smoking hot tropical, something Carlos would compose but without the flashy screaming guitar. Phil expresses this ability to hold back once again and to perfection, the sorrow and the pain obvious in between the licks. Imagine holding your babe, beads of sweat rippling down from every pore, drunk with lust and hungry for the wildest flavors , in a trance, slow-dance, hypnotized by the moment and the undulating lead guitar wrapping snake-like around both your enlaced bodies.

Tremendous achievement and easily Uncle Phil's finest work yet. This recording consecrates his under-appreciated talents and will bear witness to his legacy.

5 red guitars

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 Southern Cross by MANZANERA, PHIL album cover Studio Album, 1990
3.87 | 4 ratings

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Southern Cross
Phil Manzanera Prog Related

Review by tszirmay
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars Many do not rate this seminal Phil Manzanera album very highly but I believe solidly that it warrants absolutely nil merit, as this is a decisive and divisive course change, veering from dense yet oh so cool rock master stokes like Diamond Head, K-Scope and Listen Now ! But Phil always supplied his muse with parallel projects that encompassed the entire spectrum of progressive rock and his Latin roots never really were espoused beyond a certain guitar machismo. Both his lead and his brilliant rhythm technique are legendary. On Southern Cross" Manzanera delves profoundly into his childhood memories living in Venezuela and Cuba.and keeping those impressions intact and available 35 or so years later to put them on record, well that's a just cause if I ever heard one. It's a radically less progressive soundtrack of life and times and mists of reflective memories, preferring a neo- traditional style, with heavy prog cosmetics nevertheless. Truth is that the melodies here are breathtaking and the instrumental playing superb. The breezy, tropical, hot sensuality is there in droves, aided by some proper British influences of pomp and circumstance. It's dancier, jazzier, funkier and addictive beyond logic, almost like a postcard from the islands never fails to make one smile! But it's still far removed from Roxy Music's glossy romantic rock, closer perhaps to classic Traffic circa The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys. Phil's textured guitar waves its unique magic all over this 'traditional" agenda of tunes and I love it to death, believing him to be a musical icon of the highest order and perhaps the most original guitarist in rock history, many having copied Bryan Ferry but no one ever aped Phil Manzanera! Not even close.

Smartly, a chugging pop-prog ditty shoots this one off, "A Million Reasons Why" is a lovely, breezy , brass-blasted song that has closer links with 10 cc than the Bee Gees, a heavenly chorus and some great singing altogether. (The album has some solid guest vocalists in old partner Tim Finn and the lesser-known soul voice of Gary Dyson, both wail convincingly). This is followed by the luscious and sultry instrumental "Frontera 91", a voiceless reference to the original on Diamond Head on which Robert Wyatt manned the mike seductively. Phil's entrancing guitar enflames the proceedings with bristling virtuosity, screeching, howling and pleading with utter sincerity. Prog heavy, baby!

The brass-funk kicks into elevated gear with "the Great Leveller" a groove-fest that cooks, simmers, boils and erupts, making one want to dance (proggers? Nah!) but certainly join in the rabid chorus, bellowing with some imaginary microphone. Gary Dyson can sing, mates! I am a sucker for well-timed "Hoo-Hoo" choruses big time and the lead axe solo is breathless once again! Infectious, poppy, finger-snapping but sly and sensual also, the segue into "Tambor" is seamless as if a natural fit came to fruition , keeping the samba sambaing with cascades of seductive percussion that would make Carlos Santana blush with 'hermano" envy!

The title track showcases the Roxyman's string massage qualities to the utmost degree, a fluid envelope of various styles and sounds that defy words, an iconoclastic display of controlled virtuosity. Relentlessly romantic and seductive, the atmosphere is sensational, with vibrant rhythms swirling around brass columns, the teamwork between the axe and the sax always was a Roxy hallmark. (Hello Mel Collins!)

The Tim Finn-led "Rich and Poor" is melancholic and painful, poignant with a grudge against the injustices of life, everyone a hero one day, a traitor the next according to some temporary junta. The history of Latin America is not pretty at all, until relatively recently, as people tend to forget that the 70's had the glory days of prog but a General/Colonel mafia ruled every single Latino country without exception (and don't tell me Mexico, okay!). It should come to no surprise then that a track called "Dr Fidel" shows up a bit later in the programme, solidifying the obvious previous statement zealously. But the song is a positive and hopeful testament to the yearnings of a people who have suffered for way too long. As long as there is music and dance, life is worth living. Yeah, corny, I know but a refreshing interlude from the gargantuan epics of sci-fi mumbo-jumbo we prog fans love to devour. Shake, shake! "Verde" gets initially cosmic then seamlessly rhythmic when spearheaded by a slick guitar riff that is expertly simple while Tim wraps his soul around the microphone and things get funky a la Simply Red with blasts of trumpet and horns to add some salsa. Danceable? Yup! The mood gets experimental towards the end, sweltering the pleasure even further. The tremendous "Dr Fidel" is in reference to ultra-nationalist dictator Fidel Castro insurgency against the much loathed Batista regime, proposing a shuffling beat, revolutionary chanting (Oye mi canto, oye mi voz) and some sizzling playing on opulent oboe, rumbling bass and devastating lead guitar. Sonic delirium of the highest order.

"Venceremos" is the highlight track here, a massive serenade of emotion and hope that will have you join the choir "en seguida" (aw, look it up!), wrapped into the thrill of it all. The English lyrics are definitely cheesy by any standard but the Spanish chorus is just sublime but the crowning lead solo is enough to overcome any objections.

I just love the positive vibe emanating from this unloved gem, reverting to it every time the summer sun looms on the horizon. One of those lost wonders that evoke the glow in one's spirit.

4.5 cruces inglesas

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 Primitive guitars by MANZANERA, PHIL album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.90 | 13 ratings

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Primitive guitars
Phil Manzanera Prog Related

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams

4 stars If you enjoy Phil Manzanera's unique guitar stylings (as I do), then you would definitely enjoy this album. Unlike his previous albums, under his own name or the band 801, which featured mostly composed pieces, on this one Manzanera mostly lays down some rhythm tracks, and layers his elegant guitar lines over them. The result is some incredibly listenable music.

The majority of the pieces have that slight South American flavor that spiced up Manzanera's albums, but here brought to the forefront. And his use off effect, especially chorus, is simply exquisite.

Since the compositions are very loose, and it's mostly a guitar showcase, it's not one of Manzanera's more progressive albums, but it is progessive enough for me.

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 Firebird V11 by MANZANERA, PHIL album cover Studio Album, 2008
4.46 | 9 ratings

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Firebird V11
Phil Manzanera Prog Related

Review by muddymouth

4 stars Yes! Phil has delivered an instrumental classic which shares a kinship with the best of Diamond Head, Mainstream, and 801. Really! It even sounds as if it was recorded with vintage instruments, and isn't that a good thing? Charles Hayward is a breath of fresh air - a real drummer playing a real kit with subtlety and restraint, and not merely a technobot who likes to "lift things up and put them down" as fast as possible. This release was a pleasant surprise - as the last trio of Manzanera solo offerings sounded somewhat constrained by self-conscious song writing and vocal delivery. Phil sticks to his strengths here, with maybe his best and tastiest guitar work yet. With no high profile guests and nothing to prove, the result is an organic work in which the songs are given room to breath and develop. They are not over produced or overworked, and sound almost like spontaneous jams flowing in and around strong foundations (think: Miss Shapiro from 801 Live) A tasteful, mature, yet risky work. A good cup of coffee in a sea of 5-hour energy snorts!

4.5 stars.

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 K-scope by MANZANERA, PHIL album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.42 | 21 ratings

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K-scope
Phil Manzanera Prog Related

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Manzanera's best (and most progressive) work is his "Quite Sun" project and their only album of the same name. His solo albums are usually more pop-oriented, even if some of them are of good quality and enough interesting.

K-Scope is second on the line Manzanera's real solo album. Music there is melodic multi textured art-pop/art-rock in the vein of 10 CC (Lol Crème participated on this album as backing vocalist by the way). In their best moments, musicians play really nice arranged ,if a bit cheesy, soft-rock songs with wide influences from reggae to Latin. In worst - songs are a bit repetitive and too pop-influenced. Anyway, I believe almost any fan of later Roxy Music or 10 CC will like this music.

Personally for me most attractive moments are a bit jazzy arrangements with deep excellent bass of Bill MacCormick. Manzanera's guitar work is very competitive as well, and few Mel Collins sax touches added some pleasant flavour as well.

Not the best, but one between strong art-pop albums of late 70-s.

My rating is 3+.

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 K-scope by MANZANERA, PHIL album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.42 | 21 ratings

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K-scope
Phil Manzanera Prog Related

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams

4 stars I happen to love this album. Sure, it's not truly prog, but it is adventurous, in the same way as a 10cc album might be. The album is extremely well produced, and extremely well written. I really find the whole thing quite infectuous.

The proggiest tracks are the instrumentals, K-Scope, N-Shift and You are here. But I enjoy the vocal tracks even more. The lyrics are tongue in cheeck, again like 10cc. Who can resist Hot Spot, with lyrics about dying of radiation poisoning (among other things) while dancing away at a disco? And the "number" puns sung by John Wetton in Numbers are a delight.

It's while listening to this that I realized that one of the main reasons I have been disappointed by later Manzanera albums is the lack of Bill MacCormick's bass. His bass lines add much to Manzanera's albums, and were essential to their sound.

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 50 minutes later by MANZANERA, PHIL album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.57 | 13 ratings

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50 minutes later
Phil Manzanera Prog Related

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams

3 stars I must admit, I had given up on Phil Manzanera more than twenty years ago, after those bland albums he made with Andy MacKay and John Wetton. But after reading some of the reviews of his more recent recordings, I laid down the cash for this one. And it isn't a total loss.

The first thing I noticed is the attempt to make this one sound like his seventies albums. There are wisps of Miss Shapiro here and there, echoes of the varied slick tunes from K-Scope, and of course, Manzanera's latin tinged guitar pieces. There are even a few songs that remind me of the David Gilmour led late Pink Floyd albums. But somehow, it just doesn't quite strike a chord in me. I like it, but it doesn't draw me back like the early albums.

Manzanera does most of the lead vocals himself, and it surprises me. He should have done this sooner. His voice is somewhat reminiscent of Ray Davies.

2.5 to three stars, depending on my mood.

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 Guitarissimo 75 - 82 by MANZANERA, PHIL album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1986
3.92 | 5 ratings

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Guitarissimo 75 - 82
Phil Manzanera Prog Related

Review by Evolver
Special Collaborator Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams

4 stars Like many of the prog band collections I own, this was an early compilations released by the record label (in this case E'G) to test the level of interest in the band before releasing the individual CDs. This one turned out to be one of the better of those compilations.

Phil Manzanera actually produced this collection, so the tracks seemed to have been selected with care. Although there are a few tracks that I would have included that Manzanera did not (Miss Shapiro is number one on that list), the song selection does a nice job of coverring the diverse range of Manzanera's solo albums.

The songs all come from Manzanera's first five solo albums: Diamond Head, 801 Live, Listen Now, K-Scope and Primitive Guitars, which all happen to be his best albums, in my no-so-humble opinion.

And Manzanera decided to blend each song together with an overlapping effect, similar to The Moody Blues' This Is... compilation. It serves the songs well, and gives the album a good flow.

If you want a taste of the early Manzanera albums, I highly recommend this disk.

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Thanks to fishy for the artist addition.

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