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ARANIS

RIO/Avant-Prog • Belgium


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Aranis biography
Aranis is a Flemish septet playing a somewhat minimalistic contemporary classical with touches of folk and the occasional post-rock spirit. Their music covers grounds from the repetitive and haunting to the more free spirited, melodic and compelling.

The group consists of Jana Arns (flute), Liesbeth Lambrecht (violin), Linde de Groof (violin), Marjolein Cools (accordion), Axelle Kennes (piano), Stijn Denys (guitar), Joris Vanvinckenroye (double bass)

Their music can be likened to a soundtrack (which is in accordance with the phrase on their main page - "Music for an imaginary film). At times sounding like a mixture of Yann Tiersen and Clint Mansell. Think of "Amelie" meets "Requiem For A Dream".

Here are some excerpts from reviews as they appear in their website:
"Classical music and rock are growing towards one another. An evolution we can only be pleased about."
Focus Knack

"Two violins, a double bass, accordion, piano, flute, guitar and almost no voice: it is quite clear that Aranis wants to make music you do not hear just anywhere."
De Standaard

"The secret of Aranis lies in the compelling fact that, as a listener, you are flung to and fro between the finesse of a classical concert and the excitement of a rock concert."
De Tijd

Recommended for people who like DAAU, Volapuk, Gatto Marte and older chamber rock bands like Univers Zero, Julverne and Present.

Listen to the band here - http://www.myspace.com/aranis

==Assaf Vestin (avestin)==

Aranis official website

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Made in BelgiumMade in Belgium
Rer USA 2013
Audio CD$21.98
AranisAranis
Import
Aranis
Audio CD$49.99
$60.08 (used)
IIII
Import
Aranis Reecords
Audio CD$21.99
RoqueforteRoqueforte
Audio CD$66.66 (used)

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ARANIS discography


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

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

3.59 | 37 ratings
Aranis
2005
3.70 | 30 ratings
II
2007
3.75 | 45 ratings
Songs From Mirage
2009
3.91 | 13 ratings
Joris Vanvinckenroye - Basta
2009
3.86 | 64 ratings
Roqueforte
2010
3.75 | 50 ratings
Made in Belgium
2012
3.75 | 4 ratings
In Rood
2013

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

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

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

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

3.08 | 5 ratings
Aranis & Toon Fret - Hidden Soundscapes
2007

ARANIS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Made in Belgium by ARANIS album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.75 | 50 ratings

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Made in Belgium
Aranis RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by BrufordFreak

4 stars I love Aranis. To me they represent the bravest of artists--being all acoustic, they have no space for mistakes, no means to cover up or hide behind effects or treatments; they represent the possibilities of intelligent, virtuosic music without electricity. Mega kudos!

I love this album--getting to know and re-know composers of modern chamber music (Belgian, all). Where this album suffers is the same place that all Aranis albums thus far have suffered: the songs, musics are lacking melodic "hooks" to lure the listener in and make them feel welcome, secure, at home. The pieces composed by WIM MERTENS ("Gentlemen of Leisure" and "Salernes") are the most melodic, mostly due to the smooth, minimalist style that Mertens wrote, so the Avant/RIO-shy listener might want to start there, but eventually all the songs grow on you. Aside from the two Mertens pieces, my favorites have become the gentle and folksy #5. "Where's Grommit?" (10/10) by Arne Van Dongen, the high-spirited "Bulgarian Flying Spirit Dances 2" (9/10) by UNIVERS ZERO/PRESENT/ART ZOYD's Daniel Denis, the circular and percussive #6. "Le Mar t'Eau" (9/10) by Geert Waegerman, the intricately layered yet smooth #7. "L1" (9/10) by Joris Vanvinckenroye, the Gothic KARDA ESTRA-like #2. "Le Feu" (8/10) by Wouter Vandenabeele, and the Bond movie soundtrack-like #3. "Inara" (8/10) by Ward De Vleeschhouwer.

As much as I believe in Aranis and their magical mission, I'll not rate this a five star masterpiece, but instead hold out for their next album of original songs. These serious virtuosos are so close to breaking through!

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 Made in Belgium by ARANIS album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.75 | 50 ratings

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Made in Belgium
Aranis RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

4 stars After the three-band project including the Avant/RIO legends of Present and Univers Zero, Aranis decided to deepen the Belgian thing with their fifth album. The concept was for the band to reinterpret a composition from some ten different Belgian composers, including the well-known Wim Mertens, who will get twice the honour. Twelve tracks that will include one Aranis-leader Vanvinkenroye, but not all composers are well-known, even in small initiated circles. If RIO/Avant fans will recognize the Daniel Denis (UZ) and Roger Trigaux (Present) names, only a few will remember Jan Kuijken and maybe De Vleeschhouwer (now playing piano for Aranis)?. And that's about it. Of course, it's not to say that the lesser-known compositions are any less worthy, quite the contrary. But it would be relatively tough to tell apart any of these pieces apart in a blind test, because they're all pretty similar, outside the two Wim Mertens reprises, which are notably more barren or less complex.

Musically-speaking, we're somewhere between almost purely-classical music and the typical Belgian Chamber Prog that Aranis has become the epitome of. Sonically however, the absence of Dave Kerman's drumming gives back to the band its early sonic softer (and therefore less "rocky") flavour, but the complexity of some of the pieces brings their later efforts in mind. Soooo, MiB would sit somewhere between their first two albums and Roque Forte, so it is somehow a typical Aranis album, but still a far cry from my Preferred Songs From Mirage album. Apparently, their next project will more or less revisit that Mirage album under the Made In Belgium II moniker, thus prompting my enthusiasm.

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 Made in Belgium by ARANIS album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.75 | 50 ratings

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Made in Belgium
Aranis RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by thedunno

5 stars When Aranis released their first CD 10 years ago they were praised as the new stars of the Belgium avant-prog scene. Aranis themselves were not aware they were part of any scene nor was this scene known inside Belgium.

I am a bit reluctant to call Aranis avant prog. Avant-prog is always associated with darkness and in accessibility, while Aranis isn't very dark or very inaccessible. For the people that haven't heared them yet: they area a completely acoustic band that play with intensity combined with accuracy. None of the tunes are longer then they need to be and they never show off individually. There music is probably closer to modern classical music then to rock.

10 years later Made in Belgium can be seen as a big tribute to the many different artists and composers that Belgium has to offer that try to cross the borders between modern classical music, pop, rock, folk and jazz. The album contains 12 tunes of 11 different composers. Some are known to me ( like Daniel Denis, Roger Trigaux and Joris Vanvinckenroye) but most unknown. Different composers naturally means a lot of stylistic differences. Some songs are aggressive, some more minimalistic, a couple of more impressionistic tunes, a few more folky things. There are many moods and atmospheres on this album. The great part is: it all still sounds completely like Aranis. They can play a quiet minimalistic piece, like Wim Mertens Men of Leisure, or a fierce piece, like Erzats by Roger Trigaux; there is no doubt that this is Aranis at work.

I was not aware of the work of people like Wim Mertens, Wouter Vandenabeele and Jan Kuykens but their tunes really click with me. In fact there is not 1 tune I dislike. Seems I still have a lot of music to discover from this (relatively) small country.

For me 'made in Belgium'is a musical triumph. Maybe not their very best album (for me that is still Songs from Mirage) but certainly not far behind. Too bad the Belgiums are not aware of their avant prog scene because otherwise they could be damn proud of what is 'made in Belgium'. Normally I would rate this 4,5 stars but I am glad to round off to 5.

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 Roqueforte by ARANIS album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.86 | 64 ratings

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Roqueforte
Aranis RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by BrufordFreak

4 stars An all-acoustic band that really has my interest piqued and heart won over. A more melodic than usual Avant/RIO band from Belgium that include violin, accordian, flute, double bass, and guitar with guests adding piano, drums/percussion, and viola. Delightful music throughout this album though it is not filled with the kind of hooks, rhythms and structures that captivate the majority of prog lovers.

Favorite pieces: the most melodic song on the album, "Roque" (5:54) (10/10); the longest and most diverse song on the album (like a mini-symphony), "Naise" (10:55) (9/10) and the most tango-paced 'minimalist' piece, "Tissim" (5:40) (10/10).

A four star collection of brave, from a tight collective of outstanding musicians. The non-melodic nature of Avant/RIO music unfortunately renders some of this music difficult to access. I would think that anyone who has a solid background in music theory or someone who gravitates toward the cerebral side of music would enjoy this album and music tremendously.

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 Songs From Mirage by ARANIS album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.75 | 45 ratings

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Songs From Mirage
Aranis RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 'Songs From Mirage' - Aranis (8/10)

From Belgium comes Aranis, a brilliant group of musicians who resemble a classical ensemble moreso than any interpretation of a rock group. Call it chamber prog, soundtrack music, neoclassical or avant-garde, Aranis has found a sound for themselves that doesn't seem to receive the attention and acclaim it deserves. Over their first two albums, they created some pleasant instrumental music that could have fit in nicely as the score to some dramatic film. With this third album 'Songs From Mirage', Aranis develop their style of chamber rock to incorporate operatic vocals. A beautifully composed and performed piece of neoclassical music, Aranis' 'Songs From Mirage' scrapes the edge of perfection at times, but for what it may lack in variety, Aranis gies a wonderfully refreshing listen that far too few people will end up hearing.

Setting Aranis apart first and foremost are the instruments they use. Instead of the typical set up of guitars and percussion that most musicians use nowadays to express themselves, Aranis is a string ensemble, choir, and ensemble of other quintessentially continental European sounds. Expertly arranged by Joris Vanvinckenroye, one listening would not be surprised to hear this is a classical concert hall; the compositions are brooding and take their time to build. 'Songs From Mirage' generally flows as one running piece of music rather than a group of singular tracks, although most of these pieces are fairly self-contained in their ideas. Aranis play beautifully together, taking a couple of ideas for each track and fleshing it out into something quite complex, although the direction of the music is fairly simple.

'Songs From Mirage' is generally mid-tempo, soothing, and intricate. Newly added to the sound of this band are the classical female vocals, which could either be compared with the classical acapella arrangements of Carl Off, or the crazed Zeuhl vocals of Magma, depending on your musical background. Possibly the greatest thing about the music here isn't even necessarily the compositions, but moreso the way they are performed passionately by each musician. Although there are plenty of artists at work here, each one is clearly audible and brings something distinct to the table. The performances achieve perfection, and were it not for some inconsistencies with the writing of the music, Aranis may very well have released a masterpiece for the ages. Unfortunately, some tracks clearly shine above many of the lesser pieces. No piece of music here is without beauty or merit, but it would have been nice for 'Songs Of Mirage' to have been a consistently impressive achievement, rather than a generally excellent album with some weak moments.

Minor faults and weaknesses aside, Aranis have crafted a beautiful piece of music here, and one can only hope that they take this immense style of theirs and bring it to new heights with latter albums.

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 Roqueforte by ARANIS album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.86 | 64 ratings

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Roqueforte
Aranis RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by colorofmoney91
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Roqueforte is a fantastic chamber ensemble album and the music here ranges from angry to depressing; very moody and red, much like the cover and album title suggest. Every time I listen to this album, I conjure images of a snake-charmer who is angry at the world, and him and his venomous friend seek revenge in bloodshed. The music on this album could very well be a soundtrack to my silly mental imagery, but this material definitely stands on its own as a fantastic piece of art.

This chamber ensemble's dark playing is unique with the accordion, which give all of this dark music a very weary touch and a folk music feel. The quality of this chamber rock sounds to me like it has great influence from Buenos Aires' tango master Astor Piazzolla, and that isn't only because of the accordion present (Piazzolla played the bandoneón, but you know...). The same colors and textures used on these tracks have a unique combination of South American modern classical and European folk music, though I'm probably the only person that gets that impression.

Some of these tracks are slow and beautifully dark, some are quite fiery and angry. And though the compositions here are fantastic with lots of great passages that really stick out, and the players are incredible, there are a few short filler tracks present that serve only the purpose of being annoying and "filling". Besides that minor gripe, which I actually have with most music, this is a seriously beautiful and moody album. This soundtrack to your rainy-day killing spree is highly recommended.

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 Roqueforte by ARANIS album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.86 | 64 ratings

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Roqueforte
Aranis RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by snobb
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Aranis are the Belgian chamber rock band, and this their fourth album is representative example of this music school from its very first sounds. Similar to Univers Zero, but not so dark, a bit more sentimental, melodic and even romantic in moments, this album is really one of the best chamber rock release from 2010.

Usual strings section with flute and piano are supported by accordion there, and its sound gave some melancholic and very classic French/Belgian atmosphere. Compositions are well composed and perfectly played, and (for good) they all are not too much formal, dark or sterile. Spirit of RIO is presented, and it gives that live flavor to saloon musicianship. Some compositions with more melodic (even klezmer-like in few cases) elements and accordion sound are almost excellent! The only negative comment could be done noticing some repetitiveness in compositions, but in part it's a formula of the genre.

Great release, possible one of the best chamber rock album, coming from 2010.

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 Roqueforte by ARANIS album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.86 | 64 ratings

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Roqueforte
Aranis RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars ARANIS are from Belgium and play modern Classical / Chamber music.This apparently is their first album with a drummer so why not get one of the best right ? Well in Dave Kerman they did. Also new to the band in pianist Pierre Chevalier who many will know from UNIVERS ZERO and PRESENT. Besides piano and drums we get double bass, flute, violin, viola, guitar and accordion. No vocals on this one. It seems like i'm getting my fill of Chamber music of late and this is another outstanding example of it. I really like how the music here seems to build then settle back, then build and settle back.This happens often.

"Roque" opens with a good rhythm then it settles with piano, strings and flute standing out then back to that rhythm. It does get pretty intense then settles back again after 3 minutes with strings. Accordion takes the lead for a while later on. It's catchy late to end it. "Ade I" is a short eerie piece. "Past" opens with strings, piano and percussion as accordion joins in then flute. It settles around 2 minutes then the flute starts to lead as it builds. It settles again and builds once more. "Ade II" is another short ominous piece this time with flute. "Noise" opens with flute and piano before a fuller sound kicks in. It's building a minute in then it settles some with flute outfront. It builds again before settling with strings then it gets fuller. A calm after 4 minutes then strings and bass come in, flute too. It's building. It settles back before 6 minutes with percussion and piano. Accordion joins in as the tempo picks up. Great sound before 11 minutes. Just a fantastic track !

"Ade III" is haunting with sparse piano. "Naise" opens with accordion, strings and bass as flute then drums join in.Yes it's building. A calm around 2 minutes then it builds again with strings, flute and piano. Another calm before 4 minutes then it builds with accordion, strings, flute and bass. It settles 6 1/2 minutes in and flute leads. The tempo picks up 10 minutes in to end it. Great tune. "Ade IV" opens with drums as violin,accordion and other sounds help out. "Tissim" opens with uptempo piano as strings join in. Great sound. Accordion after 1 1/2 minutes as it settles. It's building as contrasts continue. "Aila" opens with strings, accordion and bass. It settles with flute after a minute. Bass and other sounds return. Another calm arrives. It picks up 4 minutes in with a beat and strings. "Forte" is mellow to start then the accordion, drums, piano and strings come in. A silent calm before 2 minutes to the end of the track. "PS" is a short uptempo piece to close the album.

If your into this style of music then I wouldn't even hesitate.

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 Roqueforte by ARANIS album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.86 | 64 ratings

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Roqueforte
Aranis RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by avestin
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Aranis, the Flemish ensemble led by double-bassist Joris Vanvinckenroye, keep on evolving on their fourth album, RoqueForte, released on the fantastic Italian label, Altr0ck. While the first two albums provided beautiful chamber music with strong rhythmic backbone and some folk-ish tendencies, the third album presented more ambiance as well as vocalization. In this album, they are joined four guests, Ward De Vleesschouwer (piano), Stefan Wellens (viola), Pierre Chevalier from Present and Univers Zero (piano) and Dave Kerman from 5UU's, Thinking Plague and various other projects (drums and percussions). You'd think that adding drumming to their music would change their sound dramatically, but that is not the case at all. Dave Kerman's drumming is subtle and not dominative and mingles perfectly with the rest of the instruments. In fact, it sounds as if the percussions were always a part of the band's sound.

The sound is more edgy, rough, raw and yet still as elegant as ever. They have veered into territories covered by Univers Zero and Present, i.e. a darker and more brooding style and atmosphere; but they have not lost their identity, their sound and charm. Indeed, the Aranis personality is renewed here in this extended lineup. RoqueForte shows the group in their usual punctual playing and elaborate compositions, yet with a new direction and somewhat different approach, showing their strive to evolve as a musical entity.

The music here, while as rhythmic as before, seems more intent creating delicate but ominous ambiance. Take the opening track, Roque for instance. While they don't forsake melody for texture, they do sounds as if more intent on evoking certain mysterious and eerie qualities. I think this piece presents a well thought-out and executed balance between the melodic and the textural side of Aranis. In support of this notion, I'll mention that the album contains 4 short pieces named Ade I to IV which all seem to serve the same purpose as I mentioned above.

All of this is not to say that they don't craft any more tunes. In fact, the tunes found here are still as gorgeous as ever. Take the third track, Past for instance. In it you will find faint accordion playing with the flute strolling higher above it, the two accompanied by the piano and percussions, all together painting a magical and moving piece. The dynamics of this piece are very well done; each instrument wisely set in a proper volume and all of them move together as a whole up and down, louder and weaker until a climatic end. Indeed, the Past never sounded better.

Aranis also provide us with two lengthy compositions here. While they did this before, (Zilezi from the first album), this is not a commonality for Joris to compose pieces of this length for the group. The two pieces, named Noise and Naise, are stunning pieces in their beauty and arrangements. The flute has a lead role in Noise and its delicate sound clashes with the violin creating tension, all the while supported by the menacing double bass and the accordion. In this piece we also hear perhaps the most prominent drumming section on the album (the other tracks being Naise and Tissim), but not in the way you might think; a beating on the drums, in pattern and conjuction with the double bass and piano, create the intimidating canvas for the flute, violin and accordion to paint their lines and circles. This piece is a superb example of Aranis' current sound and of how they've developed since their first album. Again, this is a good example of the balance between melody and ambiance in Aranis' music. There is not a dull moment in this piece, not a wasted note. It all comes together in an enchanting fashion to a hair-raising conclusion.

An interesting piece comes in the form of Tissim. An aggressive composition, fast and even furious sounding at times. There is a remarkable interplay between the piano providing the basic pattern and rhythm along with the drumming (which are a little below it), the accordion with its own theme and the flute playing overhead. At times it sounds harmonious only to change moments later to a chaotic-like musical battlefield, it concludes in a recurring theme being played until end while the lead instruments have their "fight".

RoqueForte is a superb offering from Aranis, another wonderful achievement from a band that seems intent on progressing their sound. If you liked Aranis' previous releases, you definitely should get this as well. If you're new to Aranis and would like to try them out, I find this is a good entry point and you could then work your way backwards. As there are a lot of nuances, quieter parts and overall many intricacies, I recommend listening attentively and on headphones.

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 Roqueforte by ARANIS album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.86 | 64 ratings

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Roqueforte
Aranis RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

4 stars Aranis's fourth album is a bit of a return to their first two album's foundations, creating a typical chamber prog that is in the purest Belgiam tradition, stuck somewhere between Julverne, Cro-Magnon and Louise Avenue's happiness on one side, and Univers Zero, Present and Art Zoyd's (French, I know) darkness on the other end of the spectrum. But if the first two albums had a joyous, almost frivolous side, and the very/fairly different Songs From Mirage, which explored a more melancholic facet of theirs with an added trio of chorus women; Roqueforte is definitely in the more sombre realm, no doubt in part due to Pierre Chevalier (piano) and Dave Kerman (drums & percs), both Present alumni and appearing as guests throughout the album. It should also be noted that some line-up changes occurred just after SFM, and pianist Axelle Kennes and violinist "meisje" (name escapes me at present time) are absent from here.

The 12 tracks, ranging from 1 to almost 13 minutes, are presenting a palette of red moods (the artwork) that range from near-orange (the lighter tracks) to dark brownish (the heavier ones). Recorded in the early spring '10 in Antwerp and finalized in Liege later that summer on the Homerecords label, RF is surprisingly licensed/referenced as 2009, so go figure.

It's only a guess, but the album's name is a play on words on the French cheese Roquefort, made fairly close to Carmeaux, the site of the RIO festival that Aranis played in mid-September 09. Opening on the Roque track and closing on the Forte track, the inner contents of the album is a typical instrumental chamber rock that sometimes nears the Tango realm, where Marjolein Cools' accordion plays an important, but not definitive, role; but it's an important trump card in Vanvinkenroye's compositions. If I spoke of the sombre moods of RF, it is still quite far from Present and UZ dark and almost sinister moods. Sometimes I wonder if Joris didn't use an electric bass guitar, rather than his usual contrabass (Tissim)

Clocking just under one hour - including the afterthought PS (post-scriptum most likely, not part socialiste) that acts as an announced hidden track last 1 minute after a 1 minute silence break, RF is well in the Aranis-line of its usual creations after a slight deviation of the previous SFM. And it should please all chamber rock fans and Avant/RIO heads.

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Thanks to avestin for the artist addition.

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