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COS

Canterbury Scene • Belgium


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Cos biography
Founded in Brussels, Belgium in 1974 - Disbanded in 1984

This band's career spans over five albums released between 1974 and 1984, but the band had its roots in Classroom, a group that was formed in the second half of the 60's.. Often referred to as the Belgian answer to ZAO, they offer a mixture of prog rock, jazz and Canterbury styles, drawing their influences mainly from MAGMA, KING CRIMSON, HATFIELD AND THE NORTH, and of course, ZAO. They are led by flautist/guitarist Daniel Schell and feature the unique vocals of his wife, Pascale Son, who uses nonsense syllables to suggest a semblance of language; she also plays the oboe. The rest of the regular cast included Robert Dartsch on drums, Alain Goutier on bass and Charles Loos on keyboards for their first album, released on the ultra-small Plus label with and red and yellow stripped artwork. The band went on to tour with Magma, Zao, Univers Zero and Placebo for the next year or so. In 76, they released their absolute masterpiece Viva Boma, which is a chef d'oeuvre of Canterbury-style of music.

Each of their following albums has its own sound: "Babel", emphasizes Pascale's vocals, but also features funk/disco beats; "Swiss Chalet" has a particular African feel, but develops a New Wave-ish sound as well; as for "Pasiones", it is a strange mixture of styles (Adrian Belew-era KING CRIMSON, Canterbury, operatic and Latin American). The band folded in the mid-80's after releasing the Hotel Atlantic EP

However, their strongest are their first two releases, "Postaeolian Train Robbery" (1974) and "Viva Boma" (1976) and until recently where the only ones available. They are a mixture of jazzy and surrealistic sounds with some off-beat, humorous twists.

If you like the idea of ZAO or MAGMA with a real goofy edge (in a different but similar slant then the Dutch group of SUPERSISTER), then these two albums are highly recommended.

: : : Lise (Hibou), CANADA and Hugues Chantraine, BELGIUM : : :

See also: WiKi

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Buy COS Music


Viva BomaViva Boma
Musea 2006
$11.51
Postaeolian Train RobberyPostaeolian Train Robbery
Musea Records France 2006
$45.05 (used)
Siccmade RitualsSiccmade Rituals
Siccmade Records 2002
$35.00 (used)
Swiss ChaletSwiss Chalet
MUE 2015
$7.80
BabelBabel
Musea Records France 2010
$22.02

More places to buy COS music online Buy COS & Prog Rock Digital Music online:

COS discography


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

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

4.21 | 109 ratings
Postaeolian Train Robbery
1974
4.21 | 215 ratings
Viva Boma
1976
3.76 | 51 ratings
Babel
1978
2.48 | 18 ratings
Swi▀ Chalet
1979
3.36 | 21 ratings
Pasiones
1983

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

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

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

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

3.00 | 2 ratings
Hotel Atlantic
1984

COS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Viva Boma by COS album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.21 | 215 ratings

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Viva Boma
Cos Canterbury Scene

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars The Belgium based COS (rhymes with "dose") was a late bloomer in the early prog scene but still managed to capture the attention of the public just as the first wave of prog was waning and ceding its power to the world of punk and disco however a few bands that defied categorization fell between the cracks and nevertheless captured the hearts of fans and critics alike. COS began its journey as the band Classroom which existed from 1968-74 and then just before the release of the band's debut album "Postaeolian Train Robbery" in 1975, the band switched to the three letter moniker that took three letters from the previous band name and created an ambiguous term that had some sort of meaning in just about every language, at least in terms of European tongues. The debut found a fertile crossroads point somewhere where the world of zeuhl, jazz and progressive Canterbury Scene rock all joined hands and had a night on the town. While mostly following in the footsteps of Zao with the attention getting vocal antics of Pascale Son, the musical experience evolved into something far more adventurous.

Building upon the styles of the debut album, COS returned the next year with the sophomore album VIVA BOMA which boldly displayed a bright orange album cover with three hippos yawning in the sun and much like a jungle safari this second offering by COS created an even more eclectic blend of the aforementioned genre bending antics although the band seemed to trade out many of the zeuhl aspects as the main focus and put the emphasis squarely on the Canterbury Scene jazz-rock styles as heard by bands like Hatfield & The North, Gilgamesh and Caravan. The band had also been streamlined down to a quintet from the six members of the debut. Percussionists Steve Leduc and Robert Dartsch had been replaced by the single drummer Guy Lonneux and VIVA BOMA also saw the arrival of keyboardist / clarinetist / saxophonist Marc Hollander who would stick around for a couple albums before starting Aksak Maboul. Generally speaking Hollander added more of the avant-prog approaches he would develop in the future especially in the keyboard department.

While "Postaeolian Train Robbery" was a fairly streamlined Canterbury infused stream of zeuhl consciousness, VIVA BOMA takes the opposite approach with zeuhl rhythms dominated by the extraordinary technical instrumental workouts provided by guitarist David Schell and the keyboards of Marc Hollander. Of course Pascal Son is still the star with her sensual femininity and ability to cover a wide range of musical scales. The album starts off rather strangely. "Perhaps Next Record" is a short little electronic experiment while the title track is a tribute to African ethnic music with a focus on energetic drumming ensembles but starting with "Nog Verder," the Canterbury sounds usurp control and never let go for the album's near 40 minute run of eight tracks on the original vinyl LP. The stylistic approach while steeped in Canterbury flavors also evokes the angularity of King Crimson guitar heft, a touch of Henry Cow abstractions and a healthy dose of 70s jazz-fusion.

While the personalities that made up the band often clashed, the magic was unleashed once the band started playing. Schell was the sole composer but Pascale Son (his wife) did an excellent job offering her own interpretations as her vocal style became more fluid as she could master the art of evoking a charming naivety to a fully fueled operatic diva in complete control of the musical flow. In many ways she reminds me of some of the female indie rock singers that emerged twenty years later and VIVA BOMA has also been heavily sampled in modern day dance music and hip hop as well. COS were one of the oddball bands that weren't English to adopt the very British sounds crafted by Soft Machine, Caravan and the original Canterbury pioneers which puts them in a very small club and like other bands of non-Anglo origins such as France's Moving Gelatine Plates, Italy's Picchio dal Pozzo or the Dutch based Supersister, COS also added its own national sensibilities to the mix and in the process creating something completely unique.

Personally i find "Postaeolian Train Robbery" to be the more satisfying album as it is more focused throughout its run but VIVA BOMA provides the more stellar technically infused jazz-rock workouts and isn't too far behind in terms of quality. While Pascale Son remains the focus as on the debut with her mostly nonsensical wordless lyrics that are used as an instrument, on VIVA BOMA the musicians also drift into many more jamming sessions that take the angularities of jazz-rock and avant-prog to greater extremes with pulsating electric bass fuzz and the every-changing chord progressions of the guitar and keyboard interplay whereas spaced out psychedelic atmospheric cloud covers provide mood enhancing emotional tugs. I'm not exactly what those hippos on the album cover are doing as they hang out in the mucky rivers of the African continent but every time i listen to VIVA BOMA and gaze into their mouths open wide i can only imagine them shouting out "BRAVO! You done good, team!" In the end i don't find VIVA BOMA to be perfect by any means but it does offer another intriguing stylistic mishmash of progressive rock genres that only COS could deliver. Even the bonus tracks on later releases are worth checking out.

 Postaeolian Train Robbery by COS album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.21 | 109 ratings

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Postaeolian Train Robbery
Cos Canterbury Scene

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars COS was one of Belgium's most unique progressive rock bands having formed out of the prior works of a previous band named Classroom which was founded by guitarist / flautist Daniel Schellekens or Daniel Schell for short. Having been raised in Brussels in artistic circles, the young musician took an interest in the fertile possibilities that took traditional French chanson and other cultural ethnic music and adapted it to the psychedelic and progressive rock forms that were emerging from the European scenes at the turn of the decade from the 60s to the 70s. The band known as Classroom that existed from 1968 to 1974 sowed the seeds of what would become COS (rhymes with "dose"), a name that was meant to represent a word in many languages but most importantly included three letters that were in the name Classroom.

While still Classroom, the band developed the sound that would eventually be heard on the first COS album POSTAELOLIAN TRAIN ROBBERY which took a lot of influences from the zeuhl scene like Magma but especially Zao with whom the band played with numerous times. The band went through many lineup changes as Classroom and as COS but the main lineup of Schell on guitars and flute and vocalist Pascale De Trazegnies who would become better known as Pascale Son as well as Schell's wife and bassist Alain Goutier. For this debut album the band also included Charles Loos on keyboards and piano, Robert Dartsch on drums and a second percussionist with Steve Leduc. Many guest musicians were included to record many of the Classroom tracks later on that would be included as bonus tracks on later issues of this album.

There are actually two versions of POSTAELOLIAN TRAIN ROBBERY (the name refers to a post-version of the musical scale). The first was released in 1974 and sports the rather flashy yellow and red striped album cover. This version consisted of seven tracks including the funk rock based "Karbok" that only appeared on the first vinyl release. The album saw no reissues until Musea Records re-released the album on CD in 1990. This newer version nixed "Karbok" and instead added four bonus tracks from the band when they were still Classroom and this is the album i personally own and recommend since the tracks from Classroom are every bit as interesting as those from the COS lineup. Really the only difference is the fact that as COS, Pascale scats nonsensical meaningless vocal utterances where her voice acts as extra instrument and as Classroom, the French language is used.

POSTAELOLIAN TRAIN ROBBERY gets off to a festive start with a cheery piano roll and Alan Stoop introducing the band members like a circus barker and after all introductions are completed the music turns darker and starts to generate a Canterbury tinged zeuhl rhythmic drive. COS was unique in that the band created an idiosyncratic fusion of the Zao inspired female vocal led zeuhl styles along with touches of avant-prog a la the Belgian scene and touches of jazzy rock right out of the Canterbury Scene courtesy of bands like Caravan, Gilgamesh and Hatfield & The North although those sounds would take on a more significant role on the band's sophomore release "Viva Boma." On POSTAELOLIAN TRAIN ROBBERY the tracks mostly exist in a rhythmic world of zeuhl with jazz-rock and progressive rock filling in the cracks. Each track is skillfully composed and technically charged with excellent musicianship cranking out highly complex progressive chops however most engaging of all are the phenomenal vocal talents of Pascale Son whose playful vocal styles are magnetic. She also contributes oboe.

Apart from the original track "Karbok" which sounds out of sync with the other tracks and rightfully removed on future releases, the seven tracks that appear on the newer releases are all phenomenal in their own way. POSTAELOLIAN TRAIN ROBBERY comes off somewhat as a jamming session only constructed with extremely complex passages that allow progressive jazzy chord progressions to whiz up and down the scales which allows Pascale Son to hit some seriously high notes. She is on full diva mode on this one. The other star of the show is keyboardist Charles Loos who brings the Canterbury sounds to the mix and delivers the finesse and technical wizardry on par with the greats of the day like Mike Ratledge, Dave Sinclair or Supersister's Robert Jan Stips. Add the sensual flute sounds, a chilled out percussive drive and a mesmerizing bass groove and you basically get the gist of what POSTAELOLIAN TRAIN ROBBERY has to offer.

COS was one of Belgium's more eccentric bands having released five albums from 1974-84 and each sounding completely different. While all the aforementioned ingredients appeared on many of the albums, the recipes were quite different. While most of POSTAELOLIAN TRAIN ROBBERY is dedicated to swanky vocal led jazz-rock numbers that take license to create some serious jamming improvisation, the finale "Coloc," the longest of the album just shy of 10 minutes is the true progressive behemoth of the bunch with highly complex piano workouts, mood enhancing organ antics and hairpin turns of angularity and interesting progressive workouts. COS' debut is a real gem of 70s Belgian prog which displays one of the rare examples of a band outside of England having been influenced by the Canterbury Scene (others include France's Moving Gelatine Plates, the Dutch band Supersister and Italy's Picchio dal Pozzo). This debut is interesting in that sometimes it eschews the Canterbury sounds and focuses on jazz-rock and zeuhl but the final track provides a glimpse into the next phase heard on "Viva Boma." Geez, even the older tracks from Classroom are excellent on this one! Highly recommended.

 Babel by COS album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.76 | 51 ratings

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Babel
Cos Canterbury Scene

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Quite a turn in stylistic choices for these Canterbury babies, a band that evolved with the times.

1. "Babel" (4:22) supreme COS playfulness over a disco beat. Intentionally making fun of the disco phenom or using it to gain listeners? Pianist Charles Loo and Pascale sure seem to be having a blast! (9.5/10)

2. "Good Wind" (3:16) starts out a little too slow and somnambulant for the listener to get excited about: you can't dance to it and you certainly can't jam to the guitar and piano solos. The bass player feels like he may fall asleep at any moment. (7.75/10)

3. "Cha Cha Cha" (4:00) again, Cos playing with a musical form: this time, cha cha. Was it adventure, boredom, or pure curiosity that drove them to do thus? Hopefully, they're having fun! (8/10)

4. "Mein Maschine Ist Sch÷n" (8:34) close to a carnival/cabaret piece, Pascale sings in German in her inimitable way over the music. In the third minute all instruments but bass and percussion drop away while Pascale whisper sings. There follows an almost humorous guitar and organ duet over the bass and drums. Despite it's slow-build in volume and intensity over the second half, this song is, overall, a song of intimate subtlety and relaxed dexterity. Unfortunately, despite it's subtleties, it bears little draw for further study or review. (15/20)

5. "Sors Ton PÚtard, Johnny" (4:30) another surprisingly sedate song, at least in its rhythmic foundation. There are some cool plays at odd tempos around the two minute mark and thereafter, and then the kazoos enter and take over. Ooops! those were two tracks of fuzzed up electric guitars! Interesting how the band has really become a piano-bass-drums-and-guitar combo (7.75/10)

6. "Oostend, Oostend" (2:55) very cool little chamber Útude. (10/10)

7. "Greeneldo" (13:12) back to a disco beat for the rhythmic foundation, pleasant sustained organ chords provide the key support for Pascale to go off on one of her extended forays of vocal acrobatics. At the end of the fourth minute the reins get handed over to the percussionist and organist. In the fifth minute there is an unexpected choral bridge leading into a section of true Canterbury sound and more choral "hits." At 5:45 organ and Pascale team up again to explore, with more choral bridges. The first half of this is really awesome with a lot of STEELY DAN-ishness in it but an over-extended mid-section and tired and drawn out final two minutes make me feel as if the song should have been cut off after about seven minutes. (25.5/30)

Total Time: 40:49

Despite the strangeness of these compositions (the odd juxtapositions of musical styles upon and within each other), this is the best recorded and engineered of the Cos albums.

3.5 stars; a viable contribution to the lexicon of both Canterbury jazz fusion and progressive rock music but no masterpiece.

 Swi▀ Chalet by COS album cover Studio Album, 1979
2.48 | 18 ratings

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Swi▀ Chalet
Cos Canterbury Scene

Review by YourJefa

3 stars Clearly not one of the best COS's albums. Well, this albun was released in the early eighties and they were obviously trying to get into the New Wave era, but this album has nothing to do with the first three albums.

The influence of bands of the New Wave era like Talking Heads, Joy Division, The Cure, The Clash, The Smiths or even Blondie is notorious, but there is nothing left of the classic Canterbury Scene sounds we can appretiate in "Babel".

Some sounds like Post Punk, Reggae at some moments, sometimes it reminds me even to some eighties pop groups like Huey Lewis and The News.

It has nothing to do with the first three albums by COS, but that does not suggest it is a bad album, it's just not in the Progressive Rock/Canterbury Scene line that someone would expect after listening to those albums.

Three stars

 Postaeolian Train Robbery by COS album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.21 | 109 ratings

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Postaeolian Train Robbery
Cos Canterbury Scene

Review by Kingsnake

5 stars What a wonderful surprise. I never have heard of this band, nor did I realize there are Belgian progrockbands in the seventies. I absolutely adore this music. It has a jazzfusion, krautrock and a canterbury sound. The (wordless) vocals are perfect, and the instrumentation and production superb.

It is less sophisticated as Focus and Supersister but playful enough to keep me happy. The songs have great tempos and I cannot compare this music to anything I have heard before. Sometimes it has a kind of brazilian feel to it (maybe the vocals and flute).

Anyhow, great psychedelic canterburyesque progrock from Belgium that can please any fan of Focus, Supersister, Caravan and Kraan. Highly recommended!

 Babel by COS album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.76 | 51 ratings

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Babel
Cos Canterbury Scene

Review by YourJefa

5 stars My favourtite COS album. Babel is the third album by COS, and I have to say this is their most experimental album as well. The bases for this album are completely Canterbury Scene, it has much similarities with some British bands from that sub-genre like Soft Machine, Soft Heap, Gilgamesh or Matching Mole, but also it is very similar to some RIO and Zeuhl bands like Henry Cow, Magma or even Univers Zero. (I used this references in another COS review as well).

It is a very interesting experience, even there's a song that sounds like Disco Music, and still sounds proggy. Maybe this was their last Prog Rock album, because in the eighties they changed their sound a lot, so I guess this is a very fancy way to close their Prog discography.

If you like Canterbury Scene you will love this album, if you like RIO you will love this album and if you like Zeuhl you will love this album.

Five stars!

 Viva Boma by COS album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.21 | 215 ratings

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Viva Boma
Cos Canterbury Scene

Review by YourJefa

4 stars This was the first album of COS that I've ever heard, it was like four or five years ago and since then I think it's great but it could have been better. I enjoy it every time I listen to it, but I always feel like it needs something to get me into it, to make me feel that I'm listening to an amazing masterpiece of Prog Rock.

If I compare "Viva boma" with "Postaeolian train robbery" and "Babel", this album is not that great like the other ones; even so, I do believe it's wonderful. The album gets interesting at some points but loses it at other moments, maybe a couple of songs more would have made it better.

Four stars.

 Postaeolian Train Robbery by COS album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.21 | 109 ratings

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Postaeolian Train Robbery
Cos Canterbury Scene

Review by YourJefa

5 stars This is an extraordinary album! "Postaeolian train robbery" is one of the most interesting albums that I've ever heard. It goes from the Canterbury Scene classic sound to some weird fusion/acid Jazz and very strange and powerful riffs that make a very unique Prog Rock album. Pascale Son's voice is beautiful; reminds me to Gilli Smyth at some moments and Stella Vander in others.

I don't understand why is COS considered as a Canterbury Scene band: their sound is much more like the classic RIO/Avant-Prog music from bands like Samla Mammas Manna, Henry Cow or even Zeuhl bands like Magma or Zao. The drums and the bass are very disciplined in some moments but also it has very free lines. This album is a whole piece of art, amazing from the start until the end.

Complex album, but very enjoyable; this is one of those albums that make Prog Rock so interesting.

Five stars!!

 Postaeolian Train Robbery by COS album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.21 | 109 ratings

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Postaeolian Train Robbery
Cos Canterbury Scene

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams

4 stars This superb debut album of COS can be called as one of important landmarks upon the Belgian Canterbury Scene. Pascale's colourful, delightful voices supported upon the sound grandeur created by other musicians of genius give us an invitation to an enjoyable madness party, and (not many reviewers can have a positive appreciation for their roots though) also the last four "old" songs exert energetic melody magnification. Very interesting their roots "The CLASSROOM" had already had definite fantasia, and the fantasia might have anticipated the new era named COS I imagine.

A reflective combination of Daniel's loud and pleasant flute vibes and Charles' quiet piano stardusts, following to an ill-matched introduction phrase, is obviously simple but remarkably powerful like Soft Machine, the vanguard in Canterbury Scene. And for me some acidity can be heard via the atmosphere under their freaky sound circumstance. Pascale sings as if she would read poetry, cry upon a curtain call, or chuckle like a cute kid ... actually her voices are not only theatrical but also charismatic. Jaunty and springy steps produced by the rhythm party (Robert, Steve, and Alain) should tighten and strengthen their quirky melody lines, which form the sound basis.

It's quite impressive and immersive they have created such an originality via intensive simplicity (a good example is Melanie's "Brand New Key" if I'm correct). So let me say one of my favourite tracks is the last "L'Admirable Amas Cellulaire Orange" almost only with Pascale's pretty voices and xylophone footsteps. Simple is great indeed.

 Babel by COS album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.76 | 51 ratings

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Babel
Cos Canterbury Scene

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Positive reviews and good sales followed the release of ''Viva boma'' and in 1977 Daniel Schell begins to deep into diverse music styles such as Folk, Pop and Contemporary Classical Music.He had to face again though the departure of his drummer and keyboardist.Guy Lonneux was replaced by Phillipe Allaert, while Marc Hollander helped the band in just a couple of tracks for a third album, before skipping through the Avant-Rock scene, forming Aksak Maboul, while he also became a member of Art Bears.The album was finished with the help of Placebo's Marc Moulin on organ, Franšois Faton Cahen and Julverne's/Abraxis' Charles Loos on piano with former Pazop and Abraxis Dirk Bogaert contributing on flutes and voices.The album ''Babel'' was recorded at Shiva Studios in Brussels during the summer of 1978 and released on IBC.

''Babel'' was the obvious choice for the album's title with Daniel Schell wanting to identify the band's new style, which contained different elements and flexible influences.The music is still very jazzy with a strong Canterbury tone, hence the band has added a few clever breaks with Classical, Pop and Folk tunes, producing dreamy and inventive jazzy Progressive Rock.To my ears Cos had reached their peak at this point.Pascale Son's voice is not only sensational, but his wordless lines have become something like an additional instrument, which is pretty exciting.The musicianship is challenging, ethereal, demanding and often very rich, while the band never abandoned the basic style presented in the previous works, but developed it even further with impressive keyboard parts and Classical interludes.The instrumental battles are usually great with marching rhythms based on jazzy/symphonic piano, sharp electric guitars and a flawless rhythm section, leading to Canterbury Fusion stylings with technical solos and complex drumming.Parts of the album contain even some funky beats, but these are also well absorbed within Cos' trully progressive music.''Greeneldo'' is one of the very good dreamy, instrumental Prog/Jazz Rock pieces of the time with Son's voice battling the sound of organ and piano and the music going from dramatic breaks to pleasant, jazzy grooves.

For me the starting point of Cos' discography.Canterbury-styled Prog Rock with passionate executions and solid compositions.One of the best of the era regarding the style, strongly recommended to say the least...3.5 stars.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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