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Amphi Festival 2012


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Amphi 2012 after few hours of tiring ride we’ve managed to find our hotel. We were quite exhausted, but we couldn’t stand to visit the sorroundings and wait for the tickets that were already sold out, only weekend tickets were available. So the fans couldn’t choose days that were interesting for them. Especially the first day of the festival was popular. Giving tickets was quick and efficient. Line up for each day was presented simply. According to the city - Köln is full of various pubs and clubs with pleasent service, so everyone will find something suitable for him. The only disadvantage is early time of theirs closing. The only clubs organising before and after party were so overwhelmed with people that you couldn’t even enter.

There were lots of shops with gothic and alternative clothes at Amphi’s area. Usually that were stands with hand made things. The most popular was Xtrax where you could find occasional bargains and collections ends of such a products as New Rock, indestructible corsets, garters and lots of latex.

Running order, Saturday, 21.07.2012

Mainstage:

MIND.IN.A.BOX (14:55 - 15:45)
Mind.in.a.box is Austrian electronic band, consisted of Stefan Poiss (vocal), Roman Stift (bass) Gehard Höffler (drums) and Adam Wehsely-Swiczinski (guitar). Their techno-pop" sound can be described as a mix of future pop and progressive trance. They gained large audience at Amphi Festival, music and atmosphere were electrifying. Guys were frightfully ordinary, what is a real challenge. Music was good and correct as always. And what can be said about vocal? Not too much, voice changed by syth can’t be described as good or bad according to a technique. It was quite calm concert at Amphi with lots of fans and good music, pleasant to listen to. I would recommend it to the people who like old, electronic bands.



CORVUS CORAX
(16:10 - 17:00)
OH! What an event it was, I’ve never heard of this band before, so I went with a big reluctance for "another band playing medieval rock". What was my suprise when they managed to free magic of the music with their unusual instruments (bagpipes, binioù, bombard, zither, tromba marina, hurdy-gurdy, shawm, duval, drums, timpany). After first minutes I was charmed, the band was unusual in all aspects. Of course, medieval clothing freshly made from innocent pigs and calves, music so beautiful, that it is even hard to describe it. Everything was perfect, because of the difficulties to describe this extraordinary concert I recommend to watch a video on youtube, as I am lack of words capable to describe something so perfect according to form and content. Balm for body and soul!!! Personally, I cried. Definitely THE BEST performance at Amphi 2012!



EISBRECHER
(18:55 - 20:05)
Eisbrecher was a big suprise at Amphi. The band was welcomed with applause and nervous squeals. Not short after this, beside drummer who begun the concert, three guitarists had appeared welcoming vocal with music getting from electic guitars. Vocalist, as usual at their concerts appeared dressed up military and sung in German fullfiling the music sounding even better. Eisbrecher had a perfect sound system and Alex’s yodelling was spectacular. What is more they were recording DVD together with the fans, during their show. Beside a camera, also bottle of Jack Daniels went into the audience:] The fans were delighted. Perfect contact with the audience and music without any objections, all things together perfect gig for sure worth mentioning.



THE SISTERS OF MERCY
(20:35 - 21:55)
The band created in Great Britain in Leeds, in 1980. I waited anxiously for legendary The Sisters of Mercy. I was disappointed with this performance. Andrew Eldritch, vocalist, didn’t care for the fans. He was wandering on the stage with a cigarette in his mouth. Generally, the gig wasn’t keeping high standards, everything was "so casually". Instead of former female vocalist Ofra Haza, who died in year 2000 (their most popular piece sung together become a hits and decided about signing contract with WEA label), on the stage appeared unidentified girl who for sure had a beautiful voice, but couldn’t compare with Ofra. There is only one original and it’s losing its unique magic that had charmed us with. The guy didn’t sing out of tune with murmur, also the lady didn’t sing out of tune, according to instrumental part it was wonderful. You can’t have any objections to it, but I didn’t like that vocalist didn’t try to keep contact with the audience, that was waiting in front of the stage for a good few hours just to be closer during so important concert. Andrew Eldrich was having glasses all the time, which was below criticism, even if it was his identification mark it made him looking like old playboy. Talking about wholeness of concert, they didn’t knock down with erudition, just went on the stage and sang the songs, but it was all ;) Unfortunately I will never go for another The Sisters of Mercy concert again, as for this one driving to Köln for hundreds of kilometers. With all of the respect that I have for this group I believe that replacing Ofra in the old pieces, well known around the world, wasn’t a good idea.



Staatenhaus:

[X]-RX (14:20 - 15:00)
Masters of industrial rave from Köln. [X]-Rx was created in 2006 by Pascal Beniesch in Köln. In year 2007 their gave their first international performance during Summer Darkness Festival in Netherlands.
Side projects:
[X]-Rx two side projects: epinephrine and Slut Whore. Adrenaline was created in 2004 by Pascal Beniesch in Köln and it is devoted to agrrotech. SlutWhore was created by members of the band in 2011 and it was a an attempt to connect elements of noise with Future Pop and hardstyle.
They played in a small hall in Staatenhaus which was full of dancing people, at Amphi. Music was almost reaching inside of the brain by connection strong and fast electronic melody with harsh almost growling vocal. Everybody was delighted, as always dancing and shouting to the band members. The vocalist united the audience perfectly and encouraged it to common singing. The concert was full of lightning effects: colorful, shining lights and stroboscopes that made is unusual, but so important atmosphere. Music was good, not too complicated. Clear vocal without any disadvantages, but with character. The audience was charmed, especially electro ghots. At Amphi 2012 they played: "Hit The Drum", "Kein Herz" and " Stage 2". Worth notice and for sure I will go for it one more time.



SEABOUND
(15:15 - 16:00)
It’s synth and futurepop project created in Germany. Lyrics are generally in English and they deal with psychic and how everyday happenings can affect it. Their slogan is: "Seabound: Journey Into Your Mind." The band was created in 1995 by Frank Spinath and Martin Vorbrodt. They were so various in their music preferences that they weren’t sure if cooperation between both of them is possible. Instead of uncertainity they decided to try informal, jam house project. Soon they understood that they can produce something unique if they will be more focused at one point. They decided to call the formation Seabound. It was chosen because of Spinath’s sympathy for a sea. It also means a ship staying in the safe haven or wandering around unknown, tricky waters, so it can be metaphor of the band itself. Their debut "No Sleep Demon" was released in 2001 by Dependent. You can see hear influences of Front 242, Covenant, Visage and Depeche Mode. The album was quite successful at European EBM and darkwave stage. Songs like "Travelling" and "Hooker" suited perfectly for clubbing atmosphere.
Their next album, titled "Beyond Flatline" was released in 2004. It was more electro industrial and IDM. At Amphi they performed in front of the large group of people. Their music is ethereal and delicate, as well as vocal which is somehow magically simple and mature. For sure worth seeing concert.



HAUJOBB (18:25 - 19:25)
Haujobb is German music project, that was dramatically changing from electro industrial to IDM and techno. They are a basis of crossover, bringing several forms of electro into the main world of industrial music. It was created in 1993 by Daniel Myer, Dejan Samardzic and Björn Junemann. During their next releases in ninties you could hear the growing amount of drum’n’bass and IDM in their sound. In 2011 Haujobb released new album titled "New World March" that uses more guitars, drums and sound records. They played really well at Amphi 2012, music was more interesting than vocal, but the audience was delighted. Personally, I believe that they should create their unusual almost underwater and ethereal music without music, which disturbes it and become additional element to the melody perfect itself.



NACHTMAHR
(19:50 - 20:50)
Music project of Thomas Helm and Marcus Stock. Exact date of creation is unknown. Thomas Helm claims half of ninties and officially it is said that it was stated on 1995, which is the date of first demo of their main band Empyrium. The same duet is also involved in the project called Sun of the Sleepless. Musically Nachtmahr is showing raw black metal. Their lyrics are taking about dark side of human, war and destruction. The word "nachtmahr" comes from German and it means nightmare or ghost. According to Amphi 2012, they played "War on the dancefloor "Weil ich's kann! " and "Feuer frei". It was enjoyable concert, music has perfectly matched bit that can be count without any troubles, so even people who can’t dance were masters of this activity while listening to them. Minimal cons to the vocal, although if you look at the wholeness it will suit it really well. This dark, energetic band. After the first sounds you want to dance. Dose of solid, positive power. You can’t tell anything more about the audience that it was dancing and singing again. I recommend the concert. The band is ideal also for the days when you feel sadness, because of agression in every piece which gives you katharsis.



APOPTYGMA BERZERK
(21:15 - 22:35)
Apoptygma Berzerk-Norwegian group playing synth pop / EBM / futurepop and later also idustrial rock. They commercial success wasn’t huge, mainly devoted to characteristic mix of dark and danceable at the same time synth pop. They won few prizes, for several times they occupied single’s charts in the best ten both in Germany and Scandinavia. Apoptygma Berzerk (APB or Apop) played in Europe, North America, Israel together with such bands as VNV Nation and Icon of Coil. All of the lyrics are in English. The name of the band has hidden meaning or it means nothing - the members of the band were giving different information about this. Stephan Groth, the vocalist, state that "apoptygma" is a word chosen from dictionary without any sense. It comes from the ancient Greek and means fold on a woman clothing. Because of fonetic pronounciation should include long "u" instead of "y", but usually it is pronounced as "apoptigma". Rhe band was created by Stephen Grot and Jon Erik Martinsen in 1986. They recorded few demos. Jon Erik left the group after the short time unsatisfied with the way of development the music. At Amphi 2012 this concert was really popular. People were delighted, they were screaming, clapping to the rhytm of music and dancing. Music of Apoptygma is a mix of interesting vocal, that reminds me of Ozzy, together with electrifying behavior of Scooter and danceable sounds, strong electronic bit. The vocalist contacted perfectly with the audience. The concert was full of passion and I recommend it, because you need to hear them live to feel the atmosphere of this knocking down music.



DAF
(23:15 - 00:30)
D.A.F. band working from1978, coming from Düsseldorf. Name comes from Deutsch-Amerikanische Freundschaft, which can be translated as German-American Friendship. D.A.F. it is ironic connection to NRD organisation Deutsch-Sowjetische Freundschaft. They are pioneers of electro punk, one of the most important inspirations for sytnhpop bands as Soft Cell or Pet Shop Boys, also industrial rock and EBM (electronic body music)
They talked about physicality, sexuality and were brutal. Sometimes the artist claimed that it is not a matter of historical associations, but only aesthetics impressions. It also works for the song "Der Mussolini". Their concerts together with The Fall got positive opinnions and later they sihned contract with British Mute. Their first single was "Kebabtraume/Gewalt", released in 1980. If the track on the side B was still experimental, the one on A side showed turn to easier, closer to pop music.
This direction was continued on the nest album "Die Kleinen und die Bosen", recorded during the concert at London Electric Ballroom in 1980. It was released in April, the same year. Repertoire showed more significant features of dance music with modern, unique sound.
Shortly after this the band signed contract with Virgin label and recorded for them next three albums. "Alles ist gut" dated March 1981, incredibly popular, "Cold und Liebe" from November 1981 and "Fur immer" October 1982. The albums were dominated by danceable sounds, they were praised for sound and rhytm invention, various sound effects were used (electronically changed sounds of a train). In 2003 they reactivated to promote their new album "15 Neue DAF-Lieder". Few weeks before American invasion on Iraq single "The Sheriff (An Anti-American Song)" appeared, criticizing George W. Bush policy.. They were really popular at Amphi 2012. Large crowd gathered and danced delighted to the rhytm of unusual, mature music, that is lack of nowadays. The vocalist was quite static, rapt on his work, that showed strange climate of music. It is a proof that music need to come from heart and it can’t be theater stage full of suprises deafing the sense. Beautiful vocal, without any mistakes, music on very high level. Everything served with calm. It let to condense on the music so important to the older generation of viewers. Pure ideal. They played: " Libeszimmer" "Verschwende deine jugend " " Der sheriff "



THEATER (SEATED)

LECTURE "DIE ZEIT FORMT" - OSWALD HENKE (13:45 - 14:45)
Oswald Henke is lovely man with lovely voice. Instead of lack of German knowledge I noticed that it is poetry reading. Author did it so perfectly that he was charming us with his voice and erudition, it was a kind of balm fot the soul, so you can wonder if the show isn’t a key to success for the star.
On the stage appeared a man looking quite controversial, skinny, tiny man. I believe that around thirties, and than he is making out of himself wonderful, poetry notes. Listening to his texts, unfortunately only in German, I wanted to cry. What Oswald is doing with people is something magical, he hipnotized them, relaxed and showed them other, uncovered and untouched by human feet world. Land full of peace. I recommend to all with the knowledge of German, beautiful poetry with beautiful presentation.

TALK DR. MARK BENECKE (15:00 - 15:45)
Lecture about death, corpse, forensic medicine (I get those information from German participants of Amphi Festival, so it isn’t 100% sure, for which I have to excuse). Mark Benecke deals with remains’ examination. He took part in identification of skulls and teeth of Adolf and Eva Hitler. If it were not in German for sure I would participate. Lectures dealing with controversial themes are always extremely popular and it would be nice if they were conducted in English, for foreign viewers. Between German audience it got a lot of positive opinnions.

Running order, Sunday, 22.07.2012

Mainstage:

AESTHETIC PERFECTION (13:50 - 14:30)
On Sunday at Amphi Festival played Aesthetic Perfection. It’s American electro-industrial project created by Daniela Graves in 2000. I believe that not too much can be told about this concert - music and vocal were correct. Large amount of people gathered. The vocalist showed verve and knew how to keep contact with the audience, but he couldn’t be heard all the time. Music itself has some little weaknesses. I like this band, but being honest the next group so similar to Blutengel isn’t knocking down. Of course they have freshness and many people know and what is more like Aesthetic Perfection. It is strange mix of harsh electronic power and mismatched, at first look, vocal in the back. As the name shows this band is worth recommend. At Amphi we could listen to "Spit it Out", "The Ones" and "Nice Place to Visit".



STAHLZEIT
(14:55 - 15:45)
It’s the band covering well known Rammstein. What is the most important thing: they aren’t pathetic, they knew exactly how to create the show on the same standard as the band known around the world. The same happened on this concert, they played Rammstein’s hits like: "Du Hast" "Mein Teil" "Engel" and "Feuer frei! ". Of course, delighted audience sang with them. The vocalist of the band, according to the opinions, sings better than Lindemann. Talking about pirotechnics, it was on good level, sometimes there were moments without right timing. We could seen on the stage trick with burning drumsticks during "Engel", which was huge advantage as Rammstein thought it is too dangerous. Interesting thing, guitarist played on ESP RZK 1 signed by Richard from Rammstein. Personally I have mixed feelings to the band and the concert - Rammstein aren’t dead, they didn’t break up, there was no catastrophe, so there is no reason to cover their music. Maybe this is a matter of money, nobody knows that, but I believe that although music and vocal are really good and I RECOMMEND the concert, the rest of it is lacking of sense, of course I’m writing with respect to Stahlzeit.



THE CRUXSHADOWS
(16:10 - 17:00)
The independent music band from Tallahassee, Florida, created in 1992. Their style of music connect synthies, guitars, stringed instruments, making unusual mix. The music is dark (they are put into darkwave and gothic categories), but danceable and dynamic.
Mr Seeanemone, as one day said my friend, as usual showed perfect contact with the audience. His vocal was clear as always. The same can be said about the music and sound system. I lacked off spectacular climbing on the stage’s elements, but jump into the happy crowd was wonderful gesture. In one word, ideal concert, I recommend it to everybody with pleasure and who doesn’t know them need to change it and meet this electrifying, pleasent band with fresh view on electronic music.

MONO INC.
(17:25 - 18:25)
Mono Inc. German goth rock band. The influence of following bands is visible: "Him", "The Sisters Of Mercy ", "Depeche Mode", " Unheilig", "The Cure", "The Smiths", "Placebo", "New Order", a nawet "Metallica".
The only thing that you can tell about them is that they have good music and a little worse vocal ;) but it is the band loved by everyone. German audience was delighted, singing their songs and clapping. In my opinnion, the majority of attention is paid to Katha Mia, lovely girl playing drums, that is catching an eye, cause it is weird that so tiny girl has such a power. You listen to, observe and senses are disappointing, we don’t know what is true and what is not. At Amphi they played: "The Passenger " oraz "Get some sleep".
I recommend this concert to Mono Inc’s fans and to all of the others to see Katha Mia, tiny girl who could bit lots of men ;). The one who cannot see them live again may visit Youtube.



BLUTENGEL
(18:55 - 20:05)
German group clasified as future pop and electro goth. Chris is also the vocalist in follow band: "Terminal Choice ", "Tumor", "Pain of Progres" and owner of publishing house"Fear Section". Blutengel so loved by the German audience was welcomed by massive crowd. During the concert, Chris as always beautiful like dark vampire charmed on the stage. But he was unpleseant to the photographers rather running away from them without reason. During the concert had to appear choreography that ruined the concert. Dancers on the stage perfectly moved the attention from Chris and his music. I couldn’t pay my attention to anything, but their mistakes. The girls were plumpy, wearing skimpy outfits and they were making mistakes all the time. Of course machine making airflow disturbed them, but constant checking steps was irritating. According to the vocal, it was correct as always, everybody melted down after seeing Anji Milow, the vocalist, who instead of wonderful views had also beautiful voice. All together, if there wasn’t this miserable choreography Chris’ concert would be perfect, but this is not charge against him, because he wasn’t dancing. And his voice was as always good, calm, exactly like it should be while singing about miserable love. I recommend to go for his concert always when you are in German speaking country, it is almost an obligation. At Amphi he played: "Lucifer" "Children of the night" "Bloody Pleasure" "Engelsblut" oraz "Vampire Romance " German audience and rest of the fans was delighted. People was clapping their hands, whispering, singing with Chris famous" we are the children "



AND ONE (20:35 - 21:55)
In front of the main stage gathered large group this band’s fans. It is German band mixing traditions of synth pop, electronic and EBM. From the very beginning they don’t hide their fascinations about Depeche Mode. They wanted to create a band based on keyboards and vocal. And One quickly became popular at home stage, although it was hard to start real career. During the concert full of attacks made by devoted fans appearing without expectations on the stage and frightening the band with hugs full of love, they played: "Military Fashion Show" "Sometimes""Shouts of Joy""High". The concert was great. Vocal was perfect and music also. I don’t have any objections, it was my first time when I listened to them live and I wasn’t disappointed at all. Electronic musiic and good vocal without gothic banality connected more with such a bands as Kraftwerk, that are lacking right now and this ideal is worth seeing, so I recommend this type of music:) And with a bit of luck some fan will have a chance to made a little terroristic attack and become main atraction of the concert:)




Stattenhaus:

WHISPERS IN THE SHADOW (13:20 - 14:05)
Whispers in the Shadow is gothic rock band from Austria, created in 1996. The band’s name was inspired by story The Whisperer In Darkness by H.P. Lovecraft. The lyrics are mainly connected to misticism and ocultism. Whispers In The Shadow - band created by Ashley Dayour (also playing in L'Ame Immortelle and Veneno Para Las Hadas) at the beginning of 1996. Firstly they were inspired by early eighties.,automatic percussions sequences and melodic bass. They found their own sound describing as "Dark Epic Wave". In the meantime a drummer joined the band, that create for them possibility to play live. Sometimes angry, sometimes sad sound of guitars clashes attacking bass, deep drums and psychodelic keys. Above it spread voice of Ashley trembling with emotions. His lyrics are inspired by the works of Philip K. Dick, George Orwell or Franz Kafka. The main part of transfer is recreating pictures of this unreal worlds "kept inside our heads". Main inspiration is although life. Both, light and dark sides of it. There is always dose of irony. In 2012 they created more cinematic and atmospheric style, that they reached by using of oriental sounds of percussion, tablas, darabukas and cymbals. At Amphi 2012 it was, again, one of the best concerts that had unusual dark scenery connecting perfectly music and vibrating, crazy vocal.
Perfect concert, but once again it was little frequented, because of time and place. Majority of the people don’t understand this kind of music, so usually they were static and because they didn’t know the lyrics, the vocalist had a chance to show his skills. It was nice, dark concert that made us hipnotized and was giving goose bumps, which is keeping atmosphere of H.P. Lovecraft art. I recommend this show and I believe that because of vanishing of this kind of music on contemporary alternative stage it needs to had another chance, because it is good and worth mentioning.



THE OTHER
(14:30 - 15:20)
The Other is German punk rock group. They are said to be one of the most important representants of horror punk in Europe.
In 1999 Rod Usher, Sarge von Rock, Dr. Caligari i Andy Only created the band The Ghouls playing Misfits’ covers. Soon, they started to create their own compositions and in 2002 changed the name for The Other. Their music can be described as a mix of punk, deathrock, rockabilly and metal. I really recommend this concert!The music is really a mix of styles given above and what is more it has beautiful, punk gothic vocal, that kept melodies lacking at the other bands. For me it was one of the best concerts at Amphi, because such a mic of music is now leaving alternative stages. This was also seen at Amphi’s concerts where the audience didn’t understand the music and not too many people showed at their concert, because of the place and time. But those who appeared played really well. I recommend this type of music to gothic punks, horror punk and darkwave worshipers. The most beautiful concert for me, with the most beautiful guys and even more wonderful vocal and music. Pure fairytale that need to be appreciate without any doubts.



COMBICHRIST
(20:00 - 21:10).
Just after the concert of Blutengel all fans appeared in the small place (staatenhaus). It was dark in the hall and there was no air to breath, because of the crowd. Just before the concert I had a chance to talk with German fans that were asking where I come from and listing next countries. When they found out that I’m from Poland ;) they were concerned "you can find many people and cultures here" and then added smiling "it’s not important where do you come from cause we all love Combichrist". According to the concert, only minus was lack of place to dance, as everyone appeared there. Combichrist as usual played with a lot of energy. German audience estimated this concert as the best during Amphi 2012. Combichrist played new, energetic pieces like: "Shut Up And Swallow" "Electro Haed" "Never Surrender". They hipnotized the audience, everybody was dancing or trying to, because of not enough space. Fans were singing together with the band that made the concert even more energetic. At the end they made a little fuss, which is a tradition already. It is also artistic part that need to be present. Combichrist was good and it will be good, so I recommend this concert with pleasure. People cannott be bored with them, whatever they play. It’s a dose of energy so wanted during the festivals.



PROJECT PITCHFORK
(21:40 - 23:00)
Project Pitchfork - German formation that leader and founder is charismatic Peter Spilles. Band’s history started in 1989, when Spilles met Dirk Scheuber during the concert of "Girls Under Glass". The idea of recording demo appeared, which later spread between German clubs. In 2008 after surprising success of the album "Earth Song", collaboration of Sara Noxx - darkwave’s diva and German band Project Pitchfork, Peter Spilles informed of the beginning of the works on new album, his side project Imatem. The album "Journey" showed as solid piece of experimental material provoking listener to musically travel within the most unknown realms of human conciousness. Among the invited guests appeared Sara Noxx and frontman of German industrial band Absurd Minds - Stefan Grossman. It was really popular concert at Amphi, musically they played really well, but I have huge objections to the vocal, that wasn’t perfect and you can even say if the vocalist is singing, speaking or howling. Even though it didn’t disturb the fans. There were many shining lights. The vocalist kept contact with the audience. Unfortunately, standard showed during videos differs from the one showed alive. For me this event wasn’t anything special. I recommend it for people who like electronic, delicate, fresh sound with hard to describe vocal.



THEATRE (AFTERSHOWPARTY)

After two exhuasting days the end of Amphi was coming which made us sad. New met people, old friends that we see only on the bigger events make us happy and full of news around the world, that it’s hard to leave. That’s why we are taking part in afterparty, which are last moments before year long separation. We went to Theatre where until sunrise played 5 djs. It was crowded, people were standing next to each others, siting everywhere on the floor one by one, they were talking and when they felt tired of siting whole corwd started to dance on the floor. Music was wonderful, there was pogo, if you can’t keep the balance you can always count on your friends ;) Djs played pieces of the most known and popular bands. The party lasted until morning and at 4:30 it was still vivid. And so unforgetable, strange and extremely tiring night came to an end.
DJ ALEXX BOTOXX - (Eisenlager - Oberhausen) 23:00 - 00:00
DJ ELVIS - (Luxor, Alter Wartesaal - Cologne) 00:00 - 01:00
DJ NIGHTDASH - (Pulp - Duisburg) 01:00 - 02:00
DJ Chris - (Dark Celebration Party) 02:00 - 03:00
DJ ESKIL - (Covenant) 03:00 - 04:00

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Translator: Mara Pawlova
Add date: 2013-03-15 / Live reports


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