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CIRCA

Crossover Prog • United States


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Circa biography
Circa is a band of veterans, formed by former Yes members Billy Sherwood, Tony Kaye and Alan White. In Circa, they team up with guitarist Jimmy Haun to go off on an adventure into the past and present of progressive rock. Hints of the 70s, 80s and 90s show through in all compositions by this band, which at the same time are 100% 21st century progressive rock songs.

In 2007, the band released their debut album Circa:2007, which is sold solely through the band's own web site, adding an even more 21st century touch to the old prog influences.





::Thanks to Collaborator Angelo for the Bio::

Circa official website

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CIRCA discography


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

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

3.35 | 40 ratings
Circa: 2007
2007
2.78 | 29 ratings
Circa: HQ
2009
3.55 | 20 ratings
And so on
2011

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

5.00 | 1 ratings
Circa: Live
2009
4.00 | 4 ratings
Live From Here There & Everywhere
2013

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

3.00 | 2 ratings
Circa: Live (DVD)
2008

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

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

CIRCA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Circa: HQ by CIRCA album cover Studio Album, 2009
2.78 | 29 ratings

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Circa: HQ
Circa Crossover Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars They could last!

HQ was Circa's second studio album and the most recent to one date. In my opinion, this is a better album than the debut. Sound wise, there is not much difference but the focus has shifted slightly from catchy choruses to more instrumental workouts. As such, there is more substance in HQ compared to the debut. The line-up, however, changes slightly with Jay Schellen replacing Alan White on the drums. There is no doubt about the fact that Circa is a Yes-related band both in sound in personnel. The keyboardist is none other than Tony Kaye whose history with Yes goes back as far as to the 60's. Indeed, Kaye was one of the founding members of Yes and played on their three first studio albums before being replaced by Rick Wakeman. In the early 80's Kaye re-joined Yes and recorded a further four studio albums with them including the Union album that brought back as many as eight previous Yes members to write and record as a single unit (on paper at least). The rest of the four-piece that is Circa consist of Billy Sherwood and Jimmy Haun who both participated in the creation of the controversial Union album in 1991. Sherwood even co-wrote (and co-produced) one of the songs for that album with Chris Squire (The More We Live) and on the tour in support of Yes next album, Talk, Sherwood was hired as an extra guitarist in addition to Trevor Rabin before he became a fulltime Yes member for Open Your Eyes and The Ladder. After that he has worked with Chris Squire in Conspiracy. New guy Jay Schellen has played with Sherwood before in World Trade and he has also played with Asia recently, another Yes-related band. So it is fair to say that Circa is connected to Yes in several ways.

It should then not come as a surprise to anyone that Circa sounds a bit like Yes. Billy Sherwood can even be said to be something of a Chris Squire sound-alike both vocally and on the bass guitar and Jimmy Haun's guitar playing is heavily influenced by that of Steve Howe. Billy is clearly the artistic leader of Circa and this album too is, like the debut, most similar those Yes albums on which Billy played the biggest part i.e. Open Your Eyes and The Ladder. Circa also reminds heavily of the two Conspiracy albums that Billy made with Chris Squire. Again like with the debut, influences from both 70's and 80's Yes can be found with about equal emphasis on both. The sound they produce is great, and overall the album is enjoyable even if it offers few surprises.

With a running time of over an hour, I feel that this album is maybe a bit too long for its own good. However, there are no weak songs as such so it is indeed hard to know what exactly they could (or should?) have left out. I feel that there is a bit more energy in this album compared to the debut and I enjoy listening to this one a bit more. The debut grew stale after only a few listens, but HQ remains pleasant, and becomes more so, over more listens. The tunes are a bit more challenging and takes more time to decipher. It is less Crossover and more Prog, if you know what I mean.

As I said in my review of Circa's debut, there is a lot of great music for the Yes fan to discover in the Yes family tree and Circa is not the Yes-related band I would put priority on. Having that said, again, I'm certain that any hard core fan of all eras of Yes will enjoy Circa and this is their best album.

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 Circa: 2007 by CIRCA album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.35 | 40 ratings

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Circa: 2007
Circa Crossover Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

2 stars Keepers of the flame

Yes has so many offshoots in terms of solo and side projects that 'Yes Related' could almost be a subgenre here on Prog Archives! Almost all members of Yes past and present have released solo albums (and some quite a few of them!) and just to name a few other Yes-related bands I could mention Flash, Badger, Asia, GTR, Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe and Conspiracy. The most recent in this series is Circa whose four members all have previous connections to Yes. Keyboardist Tony Kaye is the member of Circa whose history with Yes goes back the farthest. He was one of the founding members of Yes and played on their three first studio albums before being replaced by Rick Wakeman. In the early 80's Kaye re-joined Yes and recorded a further four studio albums with them including the Union album that brought back as many as eight previous Yes members to write and record as a single unit (on paper at least). The drummer in Circa is none other than Alan White who has played with Yes since 1973 until the present day. The other half of Circa consist of Billy Sherwood and Jimmy Haun who both participated in the creation of the controversial Union album in 1991. Sherwood even co-wrote (and co-produced) one of the songs for that album with Chris Squire (The More We Live) and on the tour in support of Yes next album, Talk, Sherwood was hired as an extra guitarist in addition to Trevor Rabin before he became a fulltime Yes member for Open Your Eyes and The Ladder. After that he has worked with Chris Squire in Conspiracy.

Given the members' history and close association with Yes it should not come as a surprise to anyone that Circa sounds a bit like Yes. Billy Sherwood can even be said to be something of a Chris Squire sound-alike both vocally and on the bass guitar and Jimmy Haun's guitar playing is heavily influenced by that of Steve Howe. As if all these Yes-connections were not enough, Circa also enlists the song writing talents of one Trevor Rabin on two songs and Billy's brother Michael Sherwood (who also played a small part in the Union album) is credited for providing vocoder!

Billy is clearly the artistic leader of Circa and this album is most similar those Yes albums on which Billy played the biggest part i.e. Open Your Eyes and The Ladder. Circa also reminds heavily of the two Conspiracy albums that Billy made with Chris Squire. Influences from 70's and 80's Yes can also be found with equal emphasis on both. For me as a Yes-fanatic I cannot but love the sound of Circa, but unfortunately they do not write as consistently good and memorable material as that of Yes and even Conspiracy. Given how much Circa sounds like Yes it is almost impossible not to compare this with Yes and then it inevitably falls rather flat. Even most of 80's and 90's Yes (some of which this reviewer likes a lot!) outshines this by a wide margin. Don't get me wrong, I have the greatest respect for the people involved and I do enjoy this album, at least to a degree. This is by all means a highly professional recording with several good moments.

When I finally heard this album I had already heard all the songs as they were all featured on the Circa: Live DVD where they were performed live in the exact same running order as on this studio album. But even though I had heard all this material before I cannot say that I really remembered all the songs. Indeed, only a few of the songs here made a strong enough impression the first time around for me to even remember them. Cut The Ties, Don't Let Go and Information Overload are all good songs though that deserves special mention. The rest of the album is by no means bad, but it is certainly not the kind of album that deserves to be performed live in its entirety. On the aforementioned live DVD, the performance of this album is followed by a 40 minute long medley of Yes material followed by Sherwood's own Yes song The More We Live (originally written and recorded for Union, as I said), and in comparison with that, the first part of the show (i.e. the performance of the album under review) simply fails to impress that much.

Hearing the best songs on Circa's debut individually they are highly enjoyable, but the album as a whole tends to drag a bit in the middle. I can therefore only recommend this album to fans of Yes and its massive family tree. There is a lot of great music for the Yes fan to discover in that family tree and given that Circa is not among the offshoots that I would put priority on. Having that said, I'm certain that any hard core fan of all eras of Yes will enjoy Circa too. I would however recommend that you go for the live DVD instead of this studio album as there you get all the songs from this album plus the interesting Yes-medley that I mentioned above and more.

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 Circa: HQ by CIRCA album cover Studio Album, 2009
2.78 | 29 ratings

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Circa: HQ
Circa Crossover Prog

Review by Sonicexplorer

4 stars Let me begin by contradicting the previous review. This Circa album is far, far better than the first one, in fact it is an exceptional album.

Now, I am one of those that can not hear anything Asia or related and the first Circa album did not even made it to my CD player. It was after I was forced to hear this one in a car that I did really paid attention to this band. The first Circa album is not my cup of tee, I won't even play it again.

First of all there are a few tunes in here that are incredible good, for Yes fans, Tony Kaye formations, there is plenty to like in this album, as there are so many well crafted organ parts, really a treat ! Just listen to the last cut, "remember aling the way" at 12:35 minutes long the one that stands out for me.

The guitar work is also notable and there are some parts that really makes you want for more.

One of the most tragic things in Prog Rock is its magical ability to find the worst singers available and the worst lyricists in the planet, I am happy to say that in both categories Circa performs very well.

In all one album that deserves better and prejudice, like the one I had just 'cos is Asia related will make you loose the oportunity to listen to une of the jewels of the year, along with Magma, Mouse on Keys, Forgas Band Phenomena, Kotebel, Umphrey's McGee, N.y.X , Gösta Berlings Saga, the decemberist, Zu and Miriodor.

Before being put down by the first review, make your own judgment, get a copy of this album and digest it , you might be as surprised as I was, 'cos I was not expecting such a good album from anywhere near any Asia related band.

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 Circa: 2007 by CIRCA album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.35 | 40 ratings

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Circa: 2007
Circa Crossover Prog

Review by poslednijat_colobar
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Solid modern Yes album!

The debut album by Circa: is almost a Yes album and it's intelligibly, because if you see the names of the musicians, you'll find out three Yes members (one current - Alan White, two former - the original one - Tony Kaye and Billy Sherwood) with a guitarist Jimmy Haun, played on 1991's Union. The musicianship is of high quality and the songs are quite catchy, made in typical Yes style. Yes now aren't producing any studio albums, so if we want to know what they would make, probably the answer is in front of us - something like Circa:. Have a nice trip with this classic sounding album. 3.4 stars

Best songs: Cut the Ties, Don't Let Go and Trust in Something

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 Circa: HQ by CIRCA album cover Studio Album, 2009
2.78 | 29 ratings

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Circa: HQ
Circa Crossover Prog

Review by poslednijat_colobar
Prog Reviewer

1 stars Circa:HQ by Circa is my first big disappointment of 2009! Circa: is typical band I called side project of Yes. The first album by the band was really excitement and it is something like good Yes' music. With this album the situation is completely different.

If someone with quite big name is trying to release new music, it's good to be really music. This album lacks of music overall. The first component of the music is melody. In Circa:HQ there aren't any melody or ideas. There are only four persons, who are playing their specific (for somebody not) instruments. I know very well these guys can play very well, but it's not enough for a mark above the minimum, because it's necessary a musical thought or as we know it songwriting. You cannot find anything of that here.There aren't songs, there are only samples of technique and singing. There are some ideas in some moments of some songs. There are melody in the refrains of two or three songs, but that's all! Nothing above the minimum mark!

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 Circa: HQ by CIRCA album cover Studio Album, 2009
2.78 | 29 ratings

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Circa: HQ
Circa Crossover Prog

Review by Jegheist2009

3 stars 2 years later after first cd,That was 4.5 star essential piece of prog. We have Hq Alan White is gone,Music on this disc has its ups and downs. Top Tracks- 1-If its not to late-It is not to late,To change your Perceptions on life. Never to late for change,Only late if you choose not to want to change.. Let your ego dininish the light out,World Creates more darkness. Like Morse says,We all need some light now. Turn on the light wash the darkness away

2)Ever Changing World-The world is ever changing,New things happen. Some good some bad,It is only our duty to pray,Keep the candle burning. To zap the the mosqutios,Who leech our every ounce of light out our boides. Leaves you with west nile virus aka our ego.

Artwork-2 Music-3 Production 4 Lyrics-3.5

Overall 3.5 stars out of 5,Lil above average disc. There debut,Was way stronger then this one. I hope you find this lil mini review helpful,Before you shell out money. If your die hard fan,Of side projects of Sherwood then this is for you then..

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 Circa: Live (DVD) by CIRCA album cover DVD/Video, 2008
3.00 | 2 ratings

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Circa: Live (DVD)
Circa Crossover Prog

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

3 stars From 1969 to 1999 in 40 minutes!

This brand new DVD-release from Circa, available only through the bands own website www.circahq.com, features a full live performance by this new all-star band filmed in august 2007. Circa are Billy Sherwood (vocals, bass), Tony Kaye (organ, keyboards), Alan White (drums) and Jimmy Haun (guitars, vocals). For those of you that do not recognize the first three of these names they were, of course, all members of classic progressive Rock group Yes. Billy Sherwood was a full member of Yes in the 90's and can be heard (playing primarily guitar and not bass as he does in Circa) on the Open Your Eyes (1997) and The Ladder (1999) albums. Though he has worked with Yes as a mixer and producer since the Union album in 1991 and also as an extra live guitarist on the Talk tour ca 1994.

Tony Kaye was one of the founding members of Yes (who was replaced by Rick Wakeman in the early 70's, returned again in the 80's and finally left for good in the mid 90's). Alan White has been with Yes since 1973 and is still with them today. With Sherwood, Kaye and White representing different eras of Yes history, there is, obviously a strong Yes influence in Circa's music. The set list on Circa: Live consists of Circa:'s debut (and to date only) album played in it's entirety, plus a 40 minute long medley of Yes songs (!), and as an encore; The More We Live, another Yes song, originally from the Union album, co-written by Sherwood.

The Yes- medley, which is called Chronological Journey, is truly amazing and spans over Yes' entire career, featuring one or more songs from each and every Yes album from the debut in 1969 to The Ladder in 1999. The medley includes selections from the following songs:

Looking Around, Harold Land, Every Little Thing (a Beatles cover that was included on Yes' first album), Survival, No Opportunity Necessary (a Ritchie Havens cover that was included on Yes' second album), Something's Coming (another cover that was never on any Yes studio album but was played by the band in their early days), Yours Is No Disgrace, Heart Of The Sunrise, South Side Of the Sky, Roundabout, Close To The Edge, And You And I, Ritual, Soundchaser, Parallels, Arriving UFO, On The Silent Wings Of Freedom, Tempus Fugit, Changes, Owner Of A Lonely Heart, Cinema, Rhythm Of Love, Lift Me Up, Endless Dream, Mind Drive, Open Your Eyes and Lightning Strikes. A list bound to impress every Yes fan!

All the (bits of) songs are very well played and several songs are unlikely to ever be played live again by Yes. So, this part of the DVD is a real treat for Yes fans! Tony Kaye (with a little help from an additional keyboard player) is particularly impressive. He is able to recreate all the parts previously played by Rick Wakeman and others really well. Jimmy Haun, a guy I never even heard of before, is also a really good Steve Howe impersonator. And White is great as usual. Multi-instrumentalist Billy Sherwood proves to the world that he can play the bass as well and it really shows that he has picked up more than a few tricks from Chris Squire on the bass.

The original Circa material is not as strong as the Yes songs (of course!), but it is listenable and it is quite similar to the two Conspiracy albums Sherwood did together with Chris Squire in 2000 and 2003 respectively. Apparently, two songs from the Circa debut album was co-written by Trevor Rabin (another ex-Yes member).

The visual experience is not really up to par with the music since not many cameras were used to film the event and the picture quality is far from optimal. It should be kept in mind that this is an independent release by the band themselves; recorded, produced and edited by the band! Overall, this DVD is highly recommended for hardcore Yes fans like me and it is also the best introduction to Circa. People looking to get into Yes should, however, look elsewhere.

Not essential, but very good.

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 Circa: 2007 by CIRCA album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.35 | 40 ratings

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Circa: 2007
Circa Crossover Prog

Review by ken_scrbrgh

4 stars As the previous reviewer of this album, cd, or however we refer to such a production in this day of Information Overload has noted, the lyrics on this album are adequate to not so adequate. . . . The music is very good to excellent. In a sense, this is a concept album; not to the degree of, say, Tales from Topographic Oceans, but with a continuity of theme: a pragmatic idealism regarding human nature, the past, present, and future.

I'd like to take this opportunity to advance a few thoughts on the Rodney Dangerfield of the Yes family: Tony Kaye. For most of us in the U.S., Roundabout and Fragile were our first encounters with Yes. Soon afterwards, we became aware of The Yes Album, Time and a Word, and Yes and the predecessors of Rick Wakeman and of Steve Howe. With our first impressions governed by the virtuosity of Wakeman and Howe, we took a high standard of expectations into our listening of the first three albums. In our youthful zeal, we never gave Kaye or Banks a fair listening. Often, I think of Chris Squire in the Yesyears video of 1991 stating, basically, the departure of Tony Kaye was not the most justified. However, a certain Manifest Destiny has governed the evolution of the band.

Seldom does a musician become as identified with an instrument as Kaye has with the Hammond Organ. Yet, I urge everyone to listen to him on the One Live Badger album in which he almost answers the inequities of his dismissal from Yes. Fortunately, Squire later addressed this wrong in his early 80's invitation to Kaye to become part of Cinema. In our beloved genre of Progressive Rock, Kaye is a rare team player. Interested in evidence of his own virtuosity, please listen to Survival and Harold Land from Yes, or, even, Final Eyes on Big Generator in which his Hammond performance augments the already existing keyboard line of Trevor Rabin. Lastly, I refer again to the '91 Yesyears video. Wakeman and Kaye joke together at the keyboards with Wakeman describing their joint sense of surprise as they discovered what each was actually doing on And You and I and Yours is No Disgrace.

Sherwood, Haun, White, and Kaye have given us a memorable album, extending the legacy of the Yes family and of Progressive Rock in general.

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 Circa: 2007 by CIRCA album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.35 | 40 ratings

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Circa: 2007
Circa Crossover Prog

Review by Teaflax

4 stars I've often found during the years that the most enduring relationships are couples where the partners are aware of each others' flaws, and love each other in spite of them. I say this because I really do love this album, but man, does it have some serious blemishes.

Understand that in my heart I really want to give this album five stars; I listen to it often, enjoy it immensely and consider it to be the best release of 2007. However, considering what I'm about to mention, my rational mind tells me I must settle for four. I'd give it 4.5 if such a thing was possible here.

It did take me a while to get into the album, and if it hadn't been for the Yes connection, I might well have dismissed it, for a couple of reasons. First of all, the production is muddy on anything but the best of speakers or headphones, and since I do most of my listening either at the computer or on the go in my PSP...well, that didn't do it any favors.

Second, the vocals are almost uniformly strained and are what really shows this up as not being Yes (because there are plenty of passages where you could have been fooled otherwise). I don't know if it's a conscious choice to sound all gravelly and forced, but it doesn't work in this context, giving certain sections a really unfortunate AOR-type feel.

Third, the lyrics range from bland down to terrible, with many clichéd turns of phrase, cringe-worthy obvious rhymes and simplistic sentiments. This, however, is nothing unusal in Prog. There are precious few really skilled lyricists in the genre, so I've gotten used to ignoring the words, but there are places here where it gets really hard to. (Only you can turn your life around/Given half a chance/You could be so much more/Look inside yourself - What is this? A Tony Robbins seminar?)

Finally, a minor complaint. The track listing really isn't optimal, Try listening to Side 2 first, going 6789-12345. It makes much more sense that way, building slowly to a good climax. Instead of bursting out of the gate and then sagging a bit in the middle

Alright, so despite all that, I love it. Why? Because the songwriting is superb; near enough to catchiness to appeal to the average listener yet often quirky enough to hold the interest of the more careful ear. And the performances are great. Sherwood plays a mean Squire, Haun manages to be both Rabin and Howe in one and Kaye and White are as good as they've ever been.

Some people online have compared this album to Talk, but don't be fooled. This is miles better than that (not that that's a difficult task), rarely - if ever - falling into the trap of schmaltz without substance or lengthiness without purpose. Each section leads logically and inevitably to the next, just like good Prog should and when you try to recall exactly how one went, it's just tantalizingly out of reach so you have to listen to the album again.

Unfortunately there's no download option for purchasing the album and the self-released CD is surprisingly expensive considering that it's a medium that's dying largely because of cost. I'm sure those are big factors in the fact that as of this writing only two reviews of this album are up here on PA.

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 Circa: 2007 by CIRCA album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.35 | 40 ratings

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Circa: 2007
Circa Crossover Prog

Review by Angelo
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

4 stars Approximately bass driven

When Circa released there first album in the spring of 2007, I was among the first to order - and so far without regret. With Circa:2007, the band provides a very listenable set of progressive rock tracks, that clearly shows influences from all eras of prog since the late 1960s. To me, that means the music brings memories of Yes, but also Pallas, Styx and maybe even a hint of Genesis or Marillion at times - without ever copying the sound of those bands. Circa have their own sound, and I like it.

From the quiet intro of Cut the Ties (followed by some amazing bass work of which more can be found throughout) the album is a journey through 9 great guitar and keyboard driven prog tracks. The vocals sometimes remind me of more AOR like bands, but the music simply never let's up the prog character completely. The multi-voice vocals on Information Overload, the (slide?) guitar work on Together We Are Right and the a capella intro of Life Going By are just some of the great moments on this album. The closing track Brotherhood of Man is 'the long track', with just under 12 minutes, and very much worth checking out for yourselves.

Overall, the only set backs for me with respect to this album are the many multi-vocal choruses, which have never been my taste, and Look Inside, which I find a bit boring. Then again, if these guys have played with Yes and this album represents the music they made there, I may finally have to bite the bullet and start enduring (or ignoring) Jon Anderson's voice. Maybe this is not the most renewing album in prog at the moment, and some pieces border on AOR, but it's definitely worth checking out. The excellent musicianship of these four horseman tips the scale toward 4 stars.

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Thanks to Dean Cracknell for the artist addition. and to Angelo for the last updates

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