VideoMusicStars Independent Music News Headlines Sat, 24 Jun 2017 11:48:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Harmony Drive: “Be There” – a hyper-polished amalgam! Sat, 24 Jun 2017 11:48:09 +0000 Most times you can gauge the potential quality of a creative project just by gazing through its credits. In this case, the single by Norwegian band Harmony Drive“Be There”, was recorded in Denver, Colorado. With help of production duo Glenn Sawyer & Rich Veltrop (Tom Petty, Ozzy Osbourne, Macy Gray), and Dave Elitch (Mars Volta, Killer be killed) on drums. The music video, filmed in Norway and the Philippines, features the multi-talented Supermodel, TV-host, and Surfer Mona Lisa Neuboeck. Of course for the potential quality to transform into effective quality you need a stunning song and band. Lars Erik Schjerpen (Vocals, Guitars), Andre Myhren (Guitars) and Vidar Braun (Bass), better known as Harmony Drive, brings just that to the table!

Harmony Drive is the kind of band that is very hard to stop listening to once you’ve heard any of their songs.  The upbeat, pop rock acoustic-guitar songs leave you happy and energized. On “Be There”, the band wraps the arrangement in sweeping, sweet and charming harmonies dripping with romantic yearning.

The track provides fresh, upbeat and vibrant music to the Indie scene. Brilliantly composed the track never seems to get repetitive, as opposed to the bland and almost always angry Indie approach to modern rock music; on the other hand Harmony Drive is euphoric, memorable, and compelling, with one-eye fixed on the mainstream radio charts.

Considering their writing and performing talents, as well as the A-League production team behind them, Harmony Drive have tightened every bolt, sealed every crack, and smoothed over every crease in their sound: a hyper-polished amalgam of lush stadium-ready vocal anthemics and warm, swirling organic instrumental leanings that fits squarely under the amorphous modern pop-rock rubric.

On “Be There” an infectious melody, soaring vocals, ceaseless enthusiasm and vibrancy take us to the beach, to summer love, and to simpler, happier times. It sets the stage perfectly for the very sensual video clip too. With a danceable, building beat and an explosive anthem of a chorus, it’s truly difficult not to put this song on repeat, sing along, and forgo listening to any other music for the rest of the day!

This complete command over their craft really sets these Norwegian natives apart, resulting in the kind of record that grabs you at the very first listen and becomes more meaningful every time you play it through.


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Delta Station: “An Unexpected Turn of Events” – revels in melodic capriciousness Fri, 23 Jun 2017 21:22:35 +0000 The little 14 year old Australian genius who goes by the moniker of Delta Station, has a new album out. And, somewhat predictably, it’s another utter and perfect treat. Before you listen to Delta Station’s latest album you really should leave all preconceptions at the door. Despite the connotations of the album’s title, “An Unexpected Turn of Events” is a joyous affair. It is an album that is warm, exhilarating, and incredibly uplifting and it is his greatest piece of work to date. Delta Station has only been in the production craft since June 2016, but has already released two EPs, previous to this album. Within that short space of time he has ploughed an independent and idiosyncratic furrow making music that drew on familiar electronic genres from the past to create a soundtrack to the future and whilst, “An Unexpected Turn of Events” contains his usual playful touchstones, this time around the experience is more epic and cinematic.

The theme of the album seems to be futuristic, a complete sensory overload that swarms around your ears and creates extreme euphoria. Snare drums snap, bass drums kick and walls of synths fade in and out with each track segueing into the next beautifully. Not a single second of “An Unexpected Turn of Events” feels wasted and you never once find yourself wishing for one a section to end and another to begin.

The album takes all the best pieces of Delta Station’s oeuvre and creates an album that is an aural delight, a journey into the unknown which starts in angst with “Chasing The Horizon” but ends gloriously sending us off into the forever with “Little Star” – a defining statement by one of the younger and exciting new producers in modern electronic music. In between, there are many magic moments. This is a Delta Station album, which means the number of stones he leaves unturned is negligible and the amount of emotion coursing through the album’s veins is immeasurable.

The key of listening to and fully enjoying this album is not to get too caught up in what Delta Station is trying to say, but rather to concentrate on how he is saying it. For as remarkable and poignant as his message may be, his musical vocabulary is a weapon of an altogether more formidable grade. Musicianship goes a long way, but it’s awe-inspiring to hear someone like Delta Station —a young producer who both understands and revels in the type of melodic capriciousness that makes undulating cinematic soundscapes so appealing—work his magic in countless different iterations here.

This record is a wholly singular work; not only does it defy expectations of what a Delta Station album should sound like, it totally eradicates any preconceptions about what can be released by a 14 year-old contemporary electronic producer. Essential tracks include: “Chasing the Horizon”, “Through the Clouds”, “An Unexpected Turn of Events” and “Little Star”. It would be a shame describing these tracks, as you should be listening to them for yourself!


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Newborn: “Honey Trap” – various eras of music in a three-minute song Thu, 22 Jun 2017 18:26:12 +0000 The Coney Island, Brooklyn-based band Newborn was formed by  high school friends Allen James (vocals/guitar) and Eric Weglicki (guitar/bass/vocals) and a love of rock spanning from Metallica, Nirvana, to Muse. After many years of jamming together they decided to form a band. Newborn played their first show December 2014 which was followed by the release their debut EP “Broken Virgo”. The band has since evolved musically, adding drummer Dave Goldenberg, and going from strength to strength, culminating in the release of their latest single, entitled “Honey Trap”. The song features Newborn’s most diverse lyrical palette to date.

The result is a cohesive, Indie-Pop flavor marked by James’s distinct voice and melodic composition. Unified by their singular vision, the band creates a sound that is a both familiar and nostalgic nod to the mainstream radio charts. The song is as much a resounding nod towards female empowerment, as it is a wake-up call to the workings of the music industry and its hype machine.

“Honey Trap” is an understated and charming production of acoustic driven indie rock, pop riffs cresting a summery melody and shimmering streaks of reverb. It even includes a just-about-danceable dash of rhythm with a glammy hook in the chorus.

The way Allen James sings throughout—the break in his voice, the curve in his lower register to the ache at the top—is just as interesting as what he’s singing about.  The song is also an excellent example of how one tastefully adorns a clean-cut mid-tempo pop-rock song with studio wizardry without plasticizing its emotions or chilling any of its warmth.

The track has a catchy, elegant melody almost reminiscent of a variety show act, as it plays out the storyline. The guitar and drums also go to interesting places during the song. The chances the band took here with this molten smooth sound are obviously aimed at creating opportunities for interesting, unexpected moments in the foreseeable future.

The soothing, warm melody, or the band’s clever narrative – the combination is something of a perfect alchemy – the apex of the track’s desire seems to want to stretch Newborn’s sound further mainstream than anything they’ve ever gone before. The most appealing thing about “Honey Trap” at the first instant is Newborn’s ability to create such a remarkably pure melody…very pure, indeed as pure as anything the Beatles have done.

All things said, Newborn have cleverly crafted various eras of music into a short, three-minute song, without sounding like a rip-off of other band. They have merged idiosyncratic creative spark, with cool, connected, song-craft.

Of course any change of direction by any band will always challenge their fan-base who will inevitably have contrasting opinions about any evolution regardless of the direction taken. I suspect that once Newborn hit the high-end of the charts, that any potential debate will be over!


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Jigsaw Man: ‘No Home’ – a timeless piece of music Thu, 22 Jun 2017 12:42:45 +0000 The 4 track ‘No Home’ EP is the debut release from Jigsaw Man, the moniker under which singer-songwriter Steven Faulkner is releasing original material. “It’s nice doing things under a pseudonym because you can be more personal about the lyrics, and because you have that separation,” said Faulkner, continuing: “In my head the lyrics belong to Jigsaw Man, so I can be more honest and personal. I can write far more honestly and I’ve certainly done that on this EP. In the past I’ve always looked for metaphor or simile but this EP is very honest.” Playing since he was a child, Faulkner – a full-time musician – is a regular on the East Midlands gig circuit. The self-produced EP with strong stoner overtones marks a chance to explore different playing and recording techniques as well as new directions for his sound.

Unfashionable as it may seem, there are still plenty of people interested in shit-kicking stoner rock songs that sound as good in an arena as they do on a bar jukebox, and Jigsaw Man has all the ability to scratch that particular itch on the opening track “Gathering Dust”. However it quickly becomes apparent that Faulkner’s songwriting exists in a space between two poles.

There are unearthly heavy head-shaking influences that come all the way from the likes of Zeppelin to QOTSA on one side, and mind-twisting cool-guy creatives like Beck on the other. Part of Jigsaw Man’s charm comes from a refusal to ever fully commit to either, and he tends towards both on this EP.

“Out West” cuts hard toward the latter end of the spectrum. But it’s “1000 Apologies” that intrigues me most. “Took all the time to realize why, we all left a place fallen from grace,” Faulkner sings in the first line, and those words are probably enough to conjure the mindset we’re working in here.

The real surprise though, comes from the final track, “My Dungarees”, which sounds like some southern-fried, barnyard rock n’ roll stomper. It’s a completely different kettle of fish compared to the other song – hell it doesn’t even sound like Faulkner singing – and depending on your personal tastes you will either love or hate it.

As explained by the artist himself ‘No Home’ is an intensely personal record. I just can’t figure out how his Dungarees fit into that equation! Well actually it does, but not as comfortably as the musical scenario of tracks like “Gathering Dust” or “1000 Apologies”, which to my mind, represents Jigsaw Man’s inherent talents so much better.

All throughout the recording, Jigsaw Man’s tasty guitar work and vocals definitely add something special to each track. Though the mood can turn a bit melancholy at times, there’s no denying the passion in creation put toward this EP by Steven Faulkner.

‘No Home’ comes off as a timeless piece of music that would retain relevance in any era, as Jigsaw Man never ties himself to any one pole within his musical spectrum. The debut EP “No Home” by Jigsaw Man is released on July 7th via Spotify & iTunes!


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Corlioni: “Destiny” is like a palette cleanser Thu, 22 Jun 2017 09:47:23 +0000 In case you’re not down with the nomenclature being thrown around the EDM community currently, on his latest track, “Destiny”, electronic producer Corlioni, comfortably slides into the trend-setting genre called ‘Tropical house’. Though, it would be correct to say that the masked British producer is not really confined to that specific genre at all. Tropical house is a more relaxing yet uplifting form inside the EDM craze, a response to the grimy, dark sounds of the dubstep craze which has been losing steam for the last several years. Rather than deep bass growls that sound like a broken inkjet printer, you’ll find sounds more smooth and sweet – thoroughly happy, soothing, feel-good stuff.

British Producer Corlioni

British Producer Corlioni

For this reason, I have fallen in love with “Destiny” over the last week. When it comes on, it’s like a palette cleanser; it has a genuinely refreshing effect between louder, more aggressive music at the club. And when consumed in a headphone sitting at home, it has the same effect as a cool jug of water. Considering the scorching summer ahead, that’s an extremely desired effect.

Making good music is much like baking a cake. You can make it as spectacular and as sweet as you like with all the decorations currently at hand. But to make it edible and thoroughly digestible you need quality basic ingredients.

Corlioni obviously understands this concept perfectly and wasted no time in gathering all the right elements to make this track the summer showstopper it currently is heading to be – behind the mixing boards is none other than Miami’s Austin Leeds, who has worked with Avicii and Paul Van Dyk.

But the real surprise comes in the lead vocalist, or rather the chosen songstress to carry “Destiny’s” all-important melody line – a make or break element in this specific genre. Surprisingly Corlioni’s choice fell upon the UK-based singer, Breeze Redwine.

Singer Breeze Redwine

Singer Breeze Redwine

The surprise does not come from Breeze’s captivating vocal interpretation however, but rather her age – that smooth, melodic and suggestive voice, actually belongs to a talented 14 year-old singer-songwriter. And most surprising of all is how Breeze handled the song with such control and constraint, which could so easily have become just another cheesy pop anthem in less sensitive hands.

Of course with all the proper ingredients thrown into the mixing bowl, you still need a great core recipe and the hands of an able creator to bring the best out of the blend. And Corlioni forges all of his craftsmanship in “Destiny”, bringing forth a song that can confidently hold its own within a fiercely competitive EDM market.

The beat, the vocals, the arrangement and the instrumentation are all composed in a way that creates a truly magical moment. The superlative production does the rest! You can listen to the track on Spotify, and follow Corlioni on FacebookTwitter & Instagram. You can also visit the official Corlioni Website for more information.

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“SHEEM” ft. Dash and J-Superior “UGKing” Wed, 21 Jun 2017 10:17:29 +0000 J-Superior is a recording artist from Mississippi. He is  part of “Th3 Elements” music group. Currently he has a new single release “SHEEM” ft. Dash and J-Superior “UGKing”.

Follow J-Superior on twitter @IAMJSUPERIOR

]]> 0 Toni Castells: 2045: The Year Man Becomes Immortal? – evokes mystical emotion Wed, 21 Jun 2017 05:54:31 +0000 Toni Castells is a Hispano-British composer currently based in London. A lecturer at Imperial College London and the London College of Music, his sonic worlds transpire an inherited precocious classical training with an inventive use of modern technologies to create unique and distinctive soundscapes. Castells latest musical endeavor is entitled ‘2045: The Year Man Becomes Immortal?’ which explores the prediction by computer engineer and futurologist Ray Kurzweil that the year 2045 will see the start of a new era in which human and artificial intelligence will merge, man will cease to age and so acquire the potential to live indefinitely. In the original interview with Kurzweil published in Time Magazine, Lev Grossman writes: “To see creativity, the exclusive domain of humans, usurped by a computer built by a 17-year-old is to watch a line blur that cannot be unblurred, the line between organic intelligence and artificial intelligence.”

That ‘blurring line’ is exactly what Toni Castells brings to the 16 pieces of music forged across this recording – whether it is in the blending of electronic and organic instrumentation and samples. So what we’re presented with here is a spectacular integration of classical music, electronic elements and operatic singing, as Castells truly blurs the lines of artistic expression via the musical idiom. The composer chose to explore new ground and this was ultimately a great decision, as he has created a masterpiece in musical transformation that is just as original as it is beautiful.

Toni Castells

Toni Castells

No doubt classic music or opera purists may stick up their noses, more out of technological ignorance than out of artistic disappointment. It’s often difficult to appreciate something you do not understand, or fear to fully comprehend. Many genres of popular music have long ago been infused and even dominated by the advent of electronic elements and techniques – forced to totally resign themselves in the name of progress, like so many other things in life. Nothing stays the same forever. It was only a question of time before a composer of Toni Castells talent and courage took the challenge towards the conservative classical oeuvre.

Surprisingly, though they do exist, you will find less hard-hitting percussive phrases than you’d expect here, and when the music does exceed past the level of ‘mezzo forte’, it is extremely powerful and will invigorate your mind and soul. But the effect is almost always achieved via melodic instrumentation or dominating vocal performances, and hardly ever reliant on rhythm or percussion.

The emotion is very compelling, with pieces such as “Gold” and “The Mission” being particularly inspiring, and others such as “Nile Lilies” and “Love Overcomes All Things” almost pulling you to reach out and embrace those you love.

This listening order should be taken seriously, as the evolving textures and moods created are essential to the story development.  Yet every composition has so much intrinsic potential, that it can be listened to singularly and will almost always leave you breathless on each listen. Toni Castells is a near-genius, as he interweaves science, fiction, and human drama across a backdrop that juxtaposes electronic and organic musical elements, embracing a theory that holds as much a promise as it does a threat for mankind’s future.

A musical tale that is awe-inspiring in both its performance and artistic intent. Toni Castells handles Ray Kurzweil’s mind-bending prospect beautifully. There is enough here to keep just about anyone entertained and reflective. Strap in and hang on, because it’s a fantastic musical journey. It’s a passionate score that evokes mystical emotion.


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POOL MOON ELEPHANT: “FLUKY ISLAND” – plenty of rhythm and melody Wed, 21 Jun 2017 03:37:08 +0000 Released June 21 via the Symphonic Distribution label, “FLUKY ISLAND” is the brand new 5-track EP from electronic duo POOL MOON ELEPHANT. A storming journey through various rhythmic styles, combining the duo’s skills to create imaginative feel-good moments, the EP spearheads a new wave of indie dance electro-inspired tracks while embracing the love for warm synths, sparkling heights, gentle electric textures and deep drums. POOL MOON ELEPHANT is the moniker under which the Swiss electronic music duo composed of Riccardo Studer and Ivan Nurchis, undertake their creative journey through the electronic world of music and animation. Both have double-decade experiences in audio-visuals, and working for film and TV productions.

There is no doubt that with their recent string of releases, POOL MOON ELEPHANT is branching out as the winds of dance music change direction. This isn’t a place of noise and found sounds, this new EP is a place of understated, creative energy and blissful sonic happiness.

Right from the opening house track, “Ajendrez Club”, gentle washes of sound builds through the tracks and high pitched notes are picked out over undulating basslines; this is deep and melodic, built for big rooms and beach-front bars.

Gradually things get a touch chunkier, with tracks like “Island’s Eye” featuring thumping, rolling basslines and competing percussion lurking just below the surface. The electro house tune that follows – “Innercosmic Safari” carries along in the same vein, hitting a pumping bass and drum groove and sticking to it.

 There’s a classic house hi-hat and snare ticking away at the top of the register, pulling your arms and shoulders up to dance with it, while your feet and hips feel compelled to follow the low-slung bass right down to the floor.

A few tracks develop an edge, a minor-key tension, as they circle around themselves, but there is no rawness here. Every tune is as smooth as the mixing, no room for raucous brutality or acid techno-style hectic-ness. If you let yourself go with it, these tunes are good enough to draw you in and up to their euphoric state. It’s a sound that transports you to dance-floors full of smiles rather than the usual screw faces and that is not a bad thing.

POOL MOON ELEPHANT spin expansive, thinking people’s electronic music, as on the downtempo “Intemporal”. But there’s plenty of rhythm and melody to satisfy casual club-goers as well. There’s a hint of trance on “Egofriendly”, and POOL MOON ELEPHANT handles it all deftly, never pandering.

There’s nary a dud among this collection of tracks, but the sweeping nu-disco number, “Island’s Eye” might be the highlight of a very strong set. The overall vibe of the “FLUKY ISLAND” EP is rhythmic and elegantly chill, yes. But has POOL MOON ELEPHANT gone soft? Hardly! Their sound has just become sweeter on the ear.

Simply put, hype fades and substance endures. POOL MOON ELEPHANT are equally skilled at arranging and layering downtempo pieces as well as mixing club cuts. These consistently savory sonic collages are at once deeply personal and yet quite forward thinking with warm, lush textures brushing up against emotive, melodic house and trance – truly something to behold.

POOL MOON ELEPHANT’s relentless appetite for new music injected this set with new sounds and with them, a profound sense of vitality and constant evolution.  Their sonic diversity and range ensures that each performance on “FLUKY ISLAND” is a unique, lightning-in-a-bottle listening experience.

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The Hooplas: “Midas Touch” circumnavigates single genre comparison Tue, 20 Jun 2017 10:33:53 +0000 The Hooplas are a modern progressive rock group from Ocean City, MD. Twin brothers Adam (Vocals/Guitar) and Ben Martin (Bass/Vocal) started the band. While their musical influences might not be identical, they share the love of making music. Musicians Cody Bush (Lead Guitar/Vocals), Lovechile (Drummer) and Seth Paul (Synth) round out the band’s roster and form the unique, fresh sound that defines The Hooplas. From their “American Junk EP” comes the band’s latest single “Midas Touch”.The musicianship on this single is impeccable.

Flawless guitar riffs changeup like Adam’s voice, from wall-shaking, twin guitar rhythm crunch, to the divine solos straight from the depths of heavy metal and punk influences. This, in addition to turntable driven choruses, and time-signature switch ups.

Any question marks over whether this band has unrivaled fury are smashed right out of the park on “Midas Touch”. The blasts are furious and the riffs are bludgeoning, but they’re always controlled and harmonic.

And while Adam shows his vocal prowess with a powerful melodic lyric delivery, the band’s collective musical snarl makes for a riotous amalgamation of aggression. Whilst the band forges a wall of sound, the harmonious tone of their music shines through.

The Hooplas’ ability to play on so many differing emotions is one of their defining features. Pure rock zest and engaging euphoria are at either end of their musical spectrum and they deliver a blend of both with expertise.

This is my first listen to The Hooplas, and “Midas Touch” sounds like a statement of intent from a band that circumnavigates single genre comparison. The best thing about this is that it doesn’t feel forced or fake; this is a band that is in cathartic mode, dispelling any skeptics.

The Hooplas carry enough clout to satisfy the mainstream whilst keeping pure rock heads happy. The Ocean City collective are masters of their craft and they show that there is plenty of unaddressed talent left in the tank.

This track holds its own in a pretty watered down market and deserves your full attention. What sets The Hooplas apart is what each member brings to the band. On the surface they are your usual heavy guitar, bass, and drum band. But, the deeper you go sonically into their music the more you start to hear the little performance nuances that really fill out their sound.

It is amazing to hear the dual guitars playing as rhythmically tight as they do, and the amount of melody the band is able to squeeze into their songs without sounding cheap and cheesy. The question is: “What’s not to love about The Hooplas?” They simply make great music.


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Bigfoot Barefoot – an infectious and slippery album Mon, 19 Jun 2017 22:27:53 +0000 Jacksonville, Florida collective Bigfoot Barefoot delivers a blend of Rock, Reggae, and Funk. They have been influenced by acts from Lynard Skynard to Sublime and have created their own genre which they classify as Trader Joes Rock. The band, made up of Frank Zeno (Vocals, Guitar), Justin Hites (Bass) and Ken Bevill ( Percussion, Drums) has already opened for Slightly Stoopid, Bad Brains, The Supervillians, Passafire, The Hip Abbduction, and Alien Ant Farm to name a few. Besides the aforementioned genre description’s it’s difficult to pin-point their sound, which I think is often the trademark of really good bands, even though a lot of labels do sometimes come to mind.

There’s a sort of surf rock sensibility, but it’s a lot more complex than that music usually is. One thing sure is that there is a serious pulse behind their songs, but it’s never antagonistic or forced. The band has a trippy, easy-going funky feel on their self-titled album, but it never feels cheap or chewy.

Lyrically, the songs are pretty profound and tend to be as inscrutable as any verses you might find in any Sublime album. Regardless if the sound is upbeat or down, there’s always an energy driving it that really hooks the ear, making almost every song seem like a contrast of itself – Bigfoot Barefoot are like the sweet and sour chicken of the music world.

Anyway, the point is, it’s an infectious and slippery album. It plays with the mind and heart while refusing to sit still long enough to be pigeonholed. Considering that nowadays cookie-cutter music is pretty much everywhere ad nauseam, it’s a treat to find something so indecipherably beautiful still out there to be enjoyed.

Today, it’s rare to stumble across an album that works on so many levels: musically, lyrically, and overall as an album. Bigfoot Barefoot bring so many sounds to the table that a single would be a redundant vehicle for them. Their tracks shine with so much creative ideas that are woven in pretty much any musical genre one can fit into an album release.

How else would you get such diverse songs as the soulful and funky “Hey Hey” on the same album as the reggae influenced “Badfish”, or the crunchy, upbeat and overdriven “Operator” garnished with a fiery guitar solo and all. Intoxicating, fluid, and haunting, these guys have truly invented their own musical genre, s claimed.

Every time I listen to “Don’t Forget Your Shoes”, I’m reminded of the true power that music possesses. There is no limit to creative expression; only what the imagination can conjure. When an artist channels his or her innermost passions, they craft an aural expression of individuality for the world to behold.

In a time where trends seem to dominate everything, it’s refreshing to hear a band that just does whatever the fuck it wants to. And that’s pretty much what happens here. It’s rare to encounter an album this stylistically eclectic yet so true to the artists’ sense of self.

You can really tell that Bigfoot Barefoot decided to pursue their own curiosity on instead of the neatly laid out path that logically follows trends. Bigfoot Barefoot is not focused on meeting or even exceeding your expectations on this album, they’re vying for intrinsically-sparked creativity and the inventiveness that follows suit. And that is probably more than you were expecting anyway!


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