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TGTF Guide to SXSW 2017: London electronic artists and DJs showcasing at this year’s SXSW

 
By on Tuesday, 21st February 2017 at 11:00 am
 

As you might imagine, London leads the charge with the largest number of artists one city in the UK is sending to SXSW 2017. In this post, we introduce you to 11 acts from London Town specialising in electronic music and DJaying. The summaries of acts below were written by Mary Chang, Rebecca Clayton, Steven Loftin and David Wriglesworth. Please note: all information we bring you about SXSW 2017 is to the best of our knowledge when it posts and artists and bands scheduled to appear may be subject to change. To learn when your favourite artist is playing in Austin, we recommend you first consult the official SXSW schedule, then stop by the artist’s Facebook and official Web site for details of any non-official SXSW appearances.

Anna Meredith
Composing isn’t usually the most orthodox starting point for someone wanting to venture into a career in pop, but that’s exactly where Anna Meredith started her foray into music, and to great success. Before releasing her debut album, Meredith spent time as composer in residence with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, composed for the Proms, and gained a Masters at the Royal College of Music, amongst many other accolades.

In 2016, Meredith released her debut album ‘Varmints’. Her music draws on her classical history, combing grand electronic sounds with synth strings. Meredith’s LP is as unusual as it is impressive, and creates an immersive musical experience for the listener. ‘Nautilus’ is a must listen. (Rebecca Clayton)

Aquilo
Deeply emotional and airy synthpop, fit for a darkened, heartbroken night: that’s Aquilo (pictured at top). They don’t just have their heart on their sleeve, they’re grabbing it and shoving it in your face. Starting off with a couple of Soundcloud singles in 2013 that were picked up by various outlets, they then went on to play only their fourth show ever at Glastonbury 2014. Not a bad start for the duo, not bad at all. 2017 sees them finally releasing their debut album ‘Silhouettes’ and an opportunity to make waves at SXSW. (Steven Loftin)

DJ Yoda
Duncan Beiny, better known as DJ Yoda, is a multi-award-winning hip-hop DJ and producer, who has worked with pretty much everyone, from classical composers to neuroscientists. In recent years, DJ Yoda was asked by Dr Dre to record a guest mix on his inaugural Beats 1 show for Apple Music, and he was one of the artists to perform at Banksy’s pop-up bemusement park Dismaland.

DJ Yoda pioneers new forms of audiovisual entertainment, chopping and splicing classic movies with the hands-in-the-air clubbing vibe. In 2014, DJ Yoda was commissioned to rescore classic films as part of BFI’s sonic cinema event, and he produced a mash-up of BBC Radio 4’s entire station, remixing The Archers, the shipping forecast, John Humphries and more.

In 2017, DJ Yoda is taking his ever-evolving DJ sets, which take in a diverse array of styles, genres, decades and continents, all over the world, with shows at SXSW, Snowbombing (Austria) and Hideout Festival (Croatia). (David Wriglesworth)

Draper
Producer James Draper has been around a while: he’s already released a whole host of EPs, including his eighth, ‘Luminous’ (out now on M:UK), which Steven reviewed for us on TGTF last month. Lest you think Draper is a one-trick pony, think again. Not only is the Kent professional highly sought out producer, he has collaborated with and written pop bangers for big names like Ellie Goulding, Twin Atlantic and Rita Ora. It won’t be his first rodeo – Draper has been to SXSW before – so perhaps past experience will make his performances stand out from all the newbies? (Mary Chang)

Fifi Rong
Fifi Rong is London-based, but lived in China until she was 16 when she was enrolled in a boarding school in Bristol. She self-released her debut album ‘Wrong’ in 2013, and since then has worked with the likes of Skepta, featuring on his 2016 album ‘Konnichiwa’. In 2016, she released an EP, ‘Forbidden Desire’, which she funded through Pledgemusic.

Fifi Rong’s voice is husky and distinctive, and her tracks involve beautiful and unearthly electronic sounds, which focus on love and relationships. (Rebecca Clayton)

Jamie Isaac
Croydon-born and bred, Jamie Isaac released his debut album ‘Couch Baby’ last year, a following two EPs released back in 2013 and 2014. Isaac attended BRIT School along with contemporary and sometime collaborator King Krule, but rather than following in the footsteps of the likes of Adele and Jessie J, Isaac is carving out a much different path.

Isaac focuses on pared-back, dreamy electronic rhythms and a gentle tempo that is both captivating and seriously chilled. ‘Couch Baby’ is an album that can only be described as easy listening, the type of album that you can put on in the background and relax to. (Rebecca Clayton)

Reeps One
Of the many young artists coming out to SXSW 2017, few can say they’ve already been nominated for an award, let alone won one. Harry Yeff, better known under his stage name Reeps One, is thus special because he’s a prize-winning beatboxer.

Even though the only instrument he uses is his own voice box, I’ve put him under the electronic category because SXSW has and I would venture to say they consider his voice as peerless an instrument like a synthesiser. Lest you think that his musical style is reminiscent of those spitting dudes in the ‘hood back in the ‘80s, I’ve included a more melodic example of his beatboxing below. (Mary Chang)

Rude Kid
London-based producer and DJ Rude Kid is heavily entrenched in the grime scene, being able to cite the likes of Skepta, Wiley and Shy FX amongst his collaborators. Passionate about music, Rude Kid, who at one time was signed to Sony Music, released and experimental EP ‘One Week’ in 2012 which he created in just a week, before sharing as a free download.

He’s released a fair bit of music in his career so far, and spent much of 2016 showing his prowess as a DJ, and even started hosting his own grime radio show on Kiss FM. Rude Kid’s music features darker elements of grime, when compared to AJ Tracey mentioned in our review of the pop acts from London headed to SXSW. His 2015 EP ‘653’ in collaboration with Ghetts features the popular ‘One Take’, which has racked up millions of listens on Spotify. (Rebecca Clayton)

SOHN
Christopher Taylor is the enigmatic producer and electronic singer/songwriter, who I suspected could be a hooded, yet groovy polar bear live in concert 3 years ago in DC. A lot had changed for Taylor following his well-received debut album ‘Tremors’ in 2014, and the extensive touring to promote the LP took its toll on him as well. Decamping temporarily to a house in sleepy Northern California to write and record follow-up ‘Rennen’ did him good: read my album review from last month for more details. How will a producer who favours dark clubs fare in sunny Austin? We’ll have to wait to find out. (Mary Chang)

SWEAT
Electronic in all the right places and all the right ways, SWEAT are one of the brightest stars in the upcoming UK music scene right now. Filled with crisp beats and youthful romantic tales, they’re onto a real winner. ‘Stay’, for example, features a beautiful composition that trundles along, disappears and then returns with even more grace and melody. (Steven Loftin)

Tender
Life-long friends Dan Cobb and James Cullen comprise electronic duo Tender. From the basement of their North London home, they’ve produced three EPs, ‘Armour’, ‘Tender EP II’ and ‘Tender EP III’. To coincide with the duo signing with Brooklyn-based label Partisan Records in July 2016, Tender released ‘Outside’, the first single to be taken from their third EP. Since its release, the single has been streamed over 4,000,000 times on Spotify.

For the year ahead, Tender look set to embark on a number of live dates, including shows at SXSW and a headline show at Oslo Hackney in London, before finishing off and releasing their debut album. (David Wriglesworth) [As of 21/2, Tender are no longer listed on the SXSW Music Festival schedule.]

Youngr
Dario Darnell is no stranger to the electronic scene, having previously been in Picture Book with his brother Lorne Ashley. While Picture Book appears to be on hiatus at the moment, Darnell has struck out on his own as a one man multi-instrumentalist under the moniker Youngr. You could say that his career in music was pretty much assured: his father is none other than August Darnell, aka Kid Creole of Kid Creole and the Coconuts’ fame.

Darnell has taken a page from his father in writing and performing catchy pop tunes with a soulful r&b vocal, though in his case, he also takes advantage of a full synth setup and plenty of electronics in the absence of a backing band. He’s in the middle of a European tour at the moment and will be touring North America around his week in Austin. (Mary Chang)

 

TGTF Guide to SXSW 2013: Electronic and DJ UK artists showcasing at this year’s SXSW

 
By on Tuesday, 22nd January 2013 at 11:00 am
 

Please note: all information we bring you about SXSW 2013 is to the best of our knowledge when it posts and bands scheduled to appear may be subject to change.

We here at TGTF have already brought you the pop and pop hybrid acts list and the follow-up addendum, plus last week’s rock, metal and punk acts list. What I had envisioned this guide to be was simply a handy resource if you were wondering which acts to catch at this year’s marathon week of showcases, parties and secret shows. But even if you’re not attending the big event, I hope it’ll also introduce you to the solo artists and bands you haven’t heard of, because that’s the most exciting thing about SXSW: at any one moment, you could walk into a bar, a club, a hotel, a warehouse, wherever…and you might just discover the next big thing in music. And that isn’t limited to one place or one event. You can find new music anywhere.

This week? Part three of the genre section of the exclusive TGTF Guide to SXSW 2013 continues today with electronic and electronic-based acts and DJs. This kind of music is very near and dear to my heart; when I was younger it was dance music, music with a good beat that you could dance and forget the terrible things I was dealing with in my life. It was weirdly appropriate reading an interview with Ed Macfarlane of Friendly Fires many years later, explaining their music as escapist. I never looked at electronic music was that black and white; just like any other music, you get out of it something different than the next person. But electronic music in particular has a way of making me feel alive in a way that many other types don’t. Below is a listing of all the UK acts I’ve classed as electronic or electronic-based, or are straight DJs.

Electronic / electronic-related bands

The Adamski Kid – is it a commentary of our reliance on electronics these days that there are so many bands now that are only ‘bands’ in the live sense? In the case of The Adamski Kid, the act is Adam Karayiannis, mashing up dance and rock in crazy fashion, the way Talking Heads were crazy. Already a fave of Tom Robinson and Chris Hawkins on 6music and BBC Introducing on Radio1 with Jen and Ally, he’ll probably become a fixture in the UK soon.

Sounds like: the product if Django Django and Darwin Deez had a love child and then spray painted his face so he’d look like King Tut.

CHVRCHES – if you never thought the words ‘Scottish’ and ‘electropop’ should be in the same sentence like I did, think again. Having landed in the BBC Sound of 2013 longlist, been voted to the top of Generator’s Tipping Point Top of the Tips 2012, and receiving praise from Pitchfork, my opinion doesn’t count for much. But personally, it sounds too cartoony to me to be serious.

Sounds like: bubblegum pop’s wash put through a synth wringer

Alex Clare – 2012 was a big year in America for Alex Clare, and he has Microsoft to thank for that: the computer giant used the East Londoner’s song ‘Too Close’ on their Internet Explorer 9 adverts, firmly embedding the slow-burning, soulful love song with wub wub wubs into the American consciousness and leading to a sold out tour of North America in autumn 2012. While it’s virtually guaranteed that all of Clare’s appearances at SXSW will be rammed, for sure he won’t be playing after sundown Friday until Saturday evening: he’s an Orthodox Jew.

Chad Valley (added 10/01/13) – Oxford chillwave at its finest.

Dauwd – In an interview with the Ableton Web site, Dauwd Al Hilali describes his musical process as “[finding] a groove in something that perhaps you wouldn’t expect, for example maybe a recording of an object falling and rolling on the ground. There would be an infinite amount of detail in this, where you could isolate any part and work with the ‘natural groove/rhythm’ it creates. This would be impossible to recreate through MIDI alone, and gives a really organic sound.” Hmmm. Electronic, with a difference?

Duologue – electronic bedroom experimentalists that turned themselves into a full-fledged band playing an interesting mix of electronic and guitar rock.

Catch all of our previous coverage on Duologue here.

Eaux – this London trio – formed from the remnants of the Sian Alice Group – make music that’s too dark to be called dream pop, but nevertheless captures your imagination like snowflakes in the deepest, darkest night.

Sounds like: the xx, but more subversive; the Hundred in the Hands, but less dance; Bjork, but less oddball

Fenech-Soler (added 10/01/13) – Originally from Kings Cliffe, the synth-loving foursome that made ‘Stop and Stare’ a massive radio hit in 2010 are ready for their SXSW close-up. They’ve already made a huge stir with new single ‘All I Know’, having landed at #6 on our 10 for 2013 readers’ poll.

Read all of our previous coverage of Fenech-Soler here.

The Ghosts – wonder what happened to the other members of Ou Est Le Swimming Pool after the untimely death of their singer at Pukkelpop 2010? Ex-Ou Est… member Alex Starling is the frontman for this electronic outfit also starring New York trained jazz drummer Ian Palmer and Canadian keyboardist / violin player Rayna Ferner.

K.I.D.S. – Can anyone out there give me some more info on this band? Besides a pretty anonymous Soundcloud, there’s not much else on the net.

Little Boots – Victoria Hesketh’s most recent single releases, spring 2012’s ‘Headphones’ and ‘Every Time I Say a Prayer’, sees the former La Roux sparring partner head into a more dance – and less pop – direction for her new album, out later this year.

All of our previous posts on Little Boots are here.

Man Without Country – Southern Welsh electronic duo with an unusual writing style: you see, Ryan James and Tomas Greenhalf met in university but now live in different cities, requiring long-distance collaboration. Live, they bring in drummer Mike Monaghan, adding an extra element to the duo’s already rich-sounding soundscapes. They’ve already opened for Mute labelmate M83, so all signs are good for them to be well received at SXSW.

Read our live coverage of the duo here.

Modestep – a live dubstep (yes, those wub wub wubs) and electronic band from London. Are they really necessary? I guess we will find out, with their debut album ‘Evolution Theory’ out on the 14th of January 2013 on A&M.

The 1975 – a band from Manchester blending synth into rock? You don’t say! (I readily admit to being completely sceptical about another band from the city that gave us the legendary New Order.) Us here at TGTF actually like The 1975 a lot, especially after they ditched their old name The Big Sleep to avoid confusion with another band from New York of the same name. A number gives you uniqueness, character…something that also describes their music.

Read all of our previous coverage on The 1975 here.

NO CEREMONY/// – you may recall this mysterious Manchester act (why does it feel like I’ve been typing that phrase out umpteenth times?) by the remixes they’ve done for The Good Natured, Zulu Winter, and more recently, their fellow Mancunians the 1975. It’s not clear what those three backslashes are for – maybe they stand for three band members? – but until I physically see any of them live, I’m assuming it’s three skinny English blokes in front of synths and sequencers that together weigh more than they do. Paul Lester wants it to be Natalie Curtis channelling her late father, but I don’t have such fanciful notions…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gtNL3Ic30Rc

NZCA/LINES – “A beautiful electronic ode to dislocation.”

Reverend and the Makers – Jon McClure and his merry band from Sheffield will be bringing their high energy, electro-tinged rock to SXSW and not a moment too soon. I was gutted when they pulled out of their Brighton Dome slot at last year’s Great Escape, so it’ll be cool to see them in an entirely different environment.

Read all our previous coverage on the Rev here.

Tropics (added 10/01/13) – a Southampton version of Caribou – chillwave, polyrhythmic, Afrobeat-ish.

Young Fathers – “Ol’ Dirty chose his moniker because there was no father to his bastard style. Young Fathers earn theirs by making something so fresh it doesn’t yet have a name. These are three fellas from Edinburgh who’ve been working together since they were 14, who have an elastic mind meld that mimics their fused sensibility of sound, who one day locked themselves in a dingy Scottish basement and came out with something that’d never been done — a fearless combination of beat, rap and song that smells not only of its dark and dank birthplace, but of discovery and of communion.”

Grab a free mp3 of ‘Deadline’, from their release ‘Tape One’, fom this previous MP3 of the Day post.

DJs

Bonobo – named after and not actually a chimpanzee (that much I figured, but you know how my boffin mind works…) London musician, DJ and producer who have already blown minds around the world, so expect the same in Austin.

DELS – The fastest growing genre at SXSW in recent years has been urban / hip hop, though Londoner Kieren Dickens can be described not just in hip hop terms but also on the experimental scene, mixing his loves of garage, electro, and dance. His Facebook says live he tours with three other bandmates but it remains to be seen if they will be brought over for this year’s SXSW.

DJ Abrantee – he’s the host of Choice FM’s drive time show Monday through Saturday and its Popular and Trending Afrobeats show each Saturday night, has his own Sky TV programme (since 2009, and is an actor. Afrobeats are celebratory, and I’m sure he’ll be bringing his carnival to wherever he’s dropping beats during SXSW.

DJ Edu – Kenyan-born, London-based DJ Edu should be familiar to regular BBC 1Xtra listeners, presenting the Destination Africa show, described on the BBC’s Web site as “bringing the sound of the African underground to the speakers of the UK and the world.” Anticipate the best and latest Afrobeats to be dropped.

DJ Yoda – hip hop meets turntables. FACT Magazine describes his music as “technicolour boom-bap and plenty of notable guest spots.” Make of that what you will.

Girl Unit – neither a girl, nor a unit – it’s one man, Philip Gamble, a dubstep musician and producer. Groan. His 2012 EP ‘Club Rez’ has already been reviewed – and favourably – on Pitchfork, so I think it’s not much of a guess that his SXSW appearances will be rammed.

Jackmaster – Glasgow’s Jack Revill has been DJaying now for a decade, but he’s kept himself fresh by puttin<a hrefg his hand in four labels, a club night, and a day job, besides his DJ gigs. Having DJayed all over the world and having made an appearance late last year at Manchester’s Warehouse Project, he’s more than ready for his close-up at SXSW.

Jam City – identity unknown, but he (?) is on Night Slugs with Girl Unit and interviewed him for this Hyponik feature, so my guess is that their vibes are similar. Just a random guess though.

L-Vis 1990 – James Connolly is the co-founder of Night Slugs, whose roster includes previously discussed DJ acts Girl Unit and Jam City and whose origin arose from a monthly club night he and another London DJ Bok Bok hosted. Though he’s found fame as a remixer for Orbital (grab the remix of ‘New France’ here), Passion Pit, Frankmusik and Crystal Fighters, my guess is he’ll be bringing his blend of Chicago house, drum and bass, grime and Baltimore club to Austin.

Mista Silva – is Boomboomtah you new religion? Then you’ve already heard of Mista Silva. For everyone else though, I was seriously amused by this bit from his official Web site: “Being of Ghanaian origin, Kwame Amponsa was brought up around the sounds of hi-life and its modern form hip-life where artists rapped and sung in their native tongue over hard hitting and melodic beats. Mista Silva later adapted this to Funky House and became known for blending catchy bars inhis native language with common club chants[,] e.g.[,] the crowd enticing “Kelebom, go down low!” Keen to pay full homage to his roots, Silva made the swift transition from Funky House to Afrobeats.“ And that’s all she wrote.

Redinho – London producer Tom Calvert’s formative years in America could be to blame for what he’s doing now: elevating turntablism to an art form, and mixing hip hop and electronic into his sound. He appeared at last year’s Isle of Wight and will appear at Barcelona’s Razzmatazz right before heading over to Austin, so his name, style and reputation should precede him.

Sophie – I’ve no idea what he (?) sounds like, as all I’m seeing online are remixes. But he’s signed to Huntley and Palmers’ label and keeps having shows with other London DJs, he must be doing something right.

Southern Hospitality DJs – DJs Rob Breezy and Superix founded the now infamous Hip Hop Karaoke London, the first of its kind in the UK and an event that has been a road-block every single month at the Social in central London. Recognised for this and many other dance nights their group put on by tonnes of tv and radio stations, newspapers and other media outlets in Britain, they’ve become a DJ force to be reckoned with and won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. Just shut up and dance!

Sticky – one of the UK’s leading club music producers in the height of the UK Garage scene. His distinctive sound not only made his music unavoidable in the clubs during this era, but also launched the careers of a number of the UK’s leading talents including the 2002 Mercury Prize-winning Ms. Dynamite.

TCTS – Manchester DJ and producer Sam O’Neill offers “futuristic garage with echoes of neo soul and soft whispers of classic Chicago house”.

Toddla T – and speaking of repeat nod surprises, Toddla T gets another nod from SXSW 2 years in a row too, leading me to believe that he’ll again be asked to preside over the dancey DJayed end of some night of British Music Embassy programming at Latitude 30 again. Not really my thing but if that’s what they’re looking for…

Previous coverage of Toddla T are here.

Next week here on TGTF we’ll be bringing the fourth and final genre chapter of the TGTF Guide to SXSW 2013. On Tuesday, we bring the singer/songwriters and folk artistes. Catch us then!

 

Preview: Soundwave Croatia 2012

 
By on Tuesday, 6th March 2012 at 9:00 am
 

Sometimes you need a summer holiday but also want to the fun and the freedom of a music festival, so what better way to combine the two than a foreign festival. Take a trip this summer (19-23 July) to Tisno, Croatia, for 4 days of live music, boat parties and beautiful beaches at Soundwave Croatia!

And who will you be seeing if you take the flight to Eastern Europe? Already confirmed are the Long Island hip hop masters De La Soul, the indie folkster Fink (pictured above), the mesmerising vocal styles of Ghostpoet and the turntablist troubadour DJ Yoda.

There will be over 50 artists providing the soundtrack to the summer across a range of boat parties, a beach terrace full of DJs and a tiki bar. Showcasing their skills in to the beach bods and body poppers include the BBC 6’s renegade of funk Craig Charles, Asia’s first World DMC champion DJ Kentaro, the elegantly experimental Submotion Orchestra and Metronomy‘s own Olugbenga.

For just £105 + booking fees you can enjoy four days of nothing but sunshine and live music outside of the Eurozone. For more information visit the official Web site and to keep an eye out for further announcements and stage times.

 

The Guardian Open Weekend: TGTF’s Top Picks

 
By on Tuesday, 21st February 2012 at 11:00 am
 

Next month the prestigious Guardian newspaper will be opening their hallowed doors to the public for the first time ever. Ordinary Joe Bloggs can wander freely around the Guardian building interacting with journalists, columnists and general industry bods alike. Throughout the weekend there’ll be a whole range of lectures and workshops led by some of the biggest and most important names in quality journalism. So here are TGTF’s top picks for the weekend…

Charlie Brooker
The incredibly witty and nihilistic G2 columnist Charlie Brooker is answering questions put to him by the audience. With a number of hit BBC Four (and sometimes BBC Two) TV shows under his belt and one of the Guardian’s most popular columns, this is surely going to be one of the highlights of the weekend. It’s a great opportunity for any fan of the acerbic writer to have their questions answered and learn from the metaphor master.

The Guardian’s Pop Quiz with John Harris
Music critic extraordinaire John Harris will be presenting an “eight round interactive spectacular” with full audio and visual effects. With questions written by a journalist who’s been published in Q, The Rolling Stone and Mojo amongst others, you’re going to need a truly musical mind to conquer this quiz.

Marcus Mumford (Mumford and Sons) interviewed by Laura Barton
Despite being in a band that splits opinion here at TGTF, seeing the frontman of one of Britain’s biggest folk bands being interviewed by the fantastic Laura Barton will definitely give some pointers to wannabe music journalists in the audience (ourselves included).

Music’s global revolutions, chaired by Caspar Llewellyn Smith
The Guardian’s Music Editor chairs the debate that asks where western music can go from here. Will it embrace music from other continents or evolve in its own narrow-minded way? Hear from Choice FM’s Drive Time and Afrobeats host DJ Abrantee, the co-founder of Africa Express Ian Birrell and the Senegalese singing supremo Baaba Maal. A talk guaranteed to provoke thought and intrigue throughout the mainstream music scene.

How to DJ with DJ Yoda
Voted by Q as “one of the top ten DJs to see before you die”, DJ Yoda will be giving budding turntablists valuable advice from his 14 year career. Also in attendance will be the team behind Malawi’s Lake of Stars festival. If you’re a fan of scratch DJing, mash-ups or just spinning records to have a good time, this ‘How to’ session has something for everyone.

How to blog
As a user of the internet you probably have/had a blog. If you’re not a blogger but want to get involved with the world of user generated content and don’t know where to start, look no further than the panel of freelance writer and blogger Cath Elliott, author Owen Hatherley and the editor of political blog Liberal Conspiracy, Sunny Hundal. If you’ve got something to say but don’t know how to say it, this is the talk for you.

Unfortunately the Guardian Open Weekend is now sold out, but if you were lucky enough to buy tickets then get yourself along to the above events. From the narcissistic nature of Charlie Brooker to the DJing wizardry of DJ Yoda, it’s popular culture at its best.

 
 
 

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

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