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Lightning Strikes (v1)

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An new mix of this track, including more porgan in the middle section, is here: Lightning Strikes (v2). please let me know which version you like better (with comments on the new track's song page).

This is the first mixed track from my upcoming album RAIN BATHER. It features instrumental jazz charts of some of my tunes plus a few bonus tracks of Woody Mankowski on vocals. I'm excited about the project.

I wanted to do something with a fugue in this arrangement. It adds to the organized chaos, kind of a Mingus effect. The ending was partially improvised. I'm kind of astounded it turned out as coherently as it did. You give guys a chart and run thru the whole thing 2 or 3 times and, bam, they nail it. Amazing, really.

The live performances was mixed by guys on the soundboard at Lawrence University. I think the trumpet is too loud. I tried to remaster the track as best as I could. Please let me know if the trumpet bugs you, etc. (The AIFF is less tinny than this mp3, by the way; plus, it sounds better in headphones.) Its so hard to mic an ensemble...

The ensemble:
Tobin Mueller - B3 organ
Chris Mueller (my nephew) - piano
Jeff Cox - acoustic bass
Dane Richeson - drums & percussion
Woody Mankowski - soprano saxophones
Tom Washatka - tenor saxophone
Ken Schaphorst - flugelhorn
Bob Levy - trumpet

RAIN BATHER draft mixes on MJ:
I Wanna Fly
Lightning Strikes
Caught In The Current (feat. Bill Barner/Komdrade K)
Finding No Path
Seven Buttons On A Nehru Jacket
Acid Hopping (extended version)
Last Song On Vaudeville (feat. Bill Barner)

If you would like to purchase a copy of the CD, which is pressed on a cool disc that looks like a mini-LP, feel free to contact me, or see:
Rain Bather on CDBbay
Rain Bather on iTunes
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Song Stats
Hits: 6486
Comments: 56
Fans: 38
Plays: 505
Downloads: 194
Votes: 21
Uploaded: Nov 02, 2007 - 10:48:17 AM
Last Updated: Jan 12, 2010 - 01:37:24 PM Last Played: Jul 05, 2019 - 12:35:34 AM
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Scott Carmichael said 4365 days ago (November 2nd, 2007)
Hey Tobin sounds very cool ... live.... what's shakin' here... you didn't even list a genre... I'm sitting here hoping this is all software instruments so that i can go out and buy them... I can tell these are real instruments and a live recording though... Your composition?
Check out my latest song called He Has Passed this Way
TobinMueller said 4365 days ago (November 2nd, 2007)
Jazz Ensemble Instrumental
Yes, all real players and an original composition. I think the file actually posted before the genre and description were fully formed - it posted about 45 seconds before it was totally uploaded (before the spinning thingy on my browser stopped spinning). This is a jazz chart based on the Overture to my Broadway show, "Creature."
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
moorlandt said 4365 days ago (November 2nd, 2007)
wow! wow! wow!
The atmosphere of the song (especially the drums) reminds me immediately of Dave Holland's earlier work on ECM. I'm fond of this kind of live recordings, with the little imperfections in timing. The organised chaos, like you call it yourself. That's all the charm and magic of it. Loads of energy, and the recording is so pro that it hurts ;-) The trumpet is quite loud, but it doesn't bother me at all. The sharpness of the instrument adds a lot to the total energy of the song and even gives it an aggressive edge. Thanks for inviting me, Tobin. Much appreciated.

Check out my latest song called Free (remix)
TobinMueller said 4365 days ago (November 2nd, 2007)
little imperfections
Thanks for being a fan of little imperfections. Everyone is playing on the edge on this one, and the trumpet was tiring by this time in the session and we couldn't go back and redo much. Its so rushed, listening to takes, that you can't put really your ears into it until afterward. I love the energy tho, like you say. I was going to start the album with this track, but I think I will place it around track 3 or 4, putting more evenly mixed tunes before it. Thanks for taking the time to critique. (With all the encouraging comments, I will definitely keep the track on the album!)
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
moorlandt said 4365 days ago (November 2nd, 2007)
start with it
Were you seriously considering leaving this track out of the album? That would be a shame. But of course I don't know the other tracks... And I would even suggest to start the album with this track. It's so catchy, and puts the listener in the right mood immediately. I can hear the track following this one be much more downtempo, with a bluesy edge... Haha, now I already start producing your album... where's my humbleness ;-)

Check out my latest song called Free (remix)
TobinMueller said 4355 days ago (November 12th, 2007)
Made the cut
This track has definitely made the cut, don't worry. My worries are behind me. I am thinking it either is Track 1 or Track 4. In either case, it will be followed by something mellow. Thanks for the endorsement, by the way.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
Bubowski said 4365 days ago (November 2nd, 2007)
Blown Away
This is a great classic sounding chart. Great energy and good playing all around. It's a wonderful balance of a Big Band sound with the structure of a combo. Very cool. Do I dare say...WE WANT MORE!

Check out my latest song called Yosemite Voices
TobinMueller said 4365 days ago (November 2nd, 2007)
I will be posting more as they get recorded/fixed. Thanks for noticing the blend of Big Band smaller combo styles. Its whats cool about this size ensemble, you can have the best of both worlds. Personalities all come thru, which is part of what makes it so much fun.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
said 4365 days ago (November 2nd, 2007)
Top jazz

This is a fantastic music . Energy , melodies , breaks , changes , improvisations, it's all very well built and played .
I'd love to see this band live .
No problem for me with the trumpet .
When the drummer plays softly he is (maybe ?) a bit hidden in the mix .
Thank you very much for sharing .

TobinMueller said 4365 days ago (November 2nd, 2007)
Top jazz
Thanks. I'm glad people are not bothered by the trumpet level. I used to play sax and was always bugged when the trumpets drowned me out.

I know what you mean about the drums, how the subtle stuff jazz drummers do in a small combo gets lost in a larger setting, so hard to compress them and mic them right. We had him behind a glass partition (about 5 feet high), but it still isn't enough to really bring up his levels right. Thanks for endorsing the writing/arranging, it was an experiment.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
said 4365 days ago (November 2nd, 2007)
my take
ok, first off, thanks for asking me over. i am floored by the talent shown here. if i were insecure, i would be crying in my milk right now...sniff..
the mix is, IMHO very alive. i lost the bass once, and then found it again. i lost the piano a couple of times, then i got it back. for me, the thing i love about music is finding the instruments. i do not mind at all taking the time to look for individual performances. the trouble with alot of mixes now-days, is they try to pull everything up into your face the whole time. this mix is an example of how to do it right. the horns are so well played, they need to stand out, in my mind. i do not think they are too loud, in fact it really brought me back in time. loved it. of course, i wont vote, cause i think voting is crap, but i will DL, FAV, and listen to this in the car. fantastic work, Tobin. you constantly show me what musical expression and potential is all about
TobinMueller said 4365 days ago (November 2nd, 2007)
Finding the instruments
Cool comment about finding the instruments, makes me feel better. Man, the bass was really flying, wasn't he? Tough to mic an acoustic bass with a larger band, and he goes high on the board sometimes. The piano was hardest of all, tho, and not only is too soft for my taste, it has a room sound on it that makes it seem like too much reverb. One of the reasons is that some of the other instruments bled so badly into his mics that we couldn't turn him up without adding room to the band sound. Trade offs. Glad you can hunt thru it all and find the highlights.
Check out my latest song called Momentary Undertow
said 4365 days ago (November 2nd, 2007)
Great !
WOW MAN ... this is just a great song, live with real instruments .. just perfect sir Tobin.

The compositin sounds very fine, and yes, the trumpet is a little high but not that much. sounds perfect from all sides ! Loved the work here

Thanks for sharing ...
guitapick said 4365 days ago (November 2nd, 2007)
...moves and kicks serious, serious ass. I love it, Tobin...

On my second listen, now...didn't read the description 'till after the first.

After the second listen:

No problem with the trumpet from here...but I LOVE trumpet...so don't ask me.

About half way through there's a bit of a tough spot when it goes into the bluesy shuffle, as far as balance...but it's a live performance and that went away pretty quickly once the horns came in. And the playing was great in that spot, too...so, IMHO, that's cool...

Overall a very tight, inspired performance. Awesome stuff, Tobin. I'm with Henri: love to see you guys live...let me know if you're coming to NYC...
Check out my latest song called 'Cuz I Can
guitapick said 4364 days ago (November 2nd, 2007)
Hello again...
...sorry; I meant the walking blues around the middle...it's not a shuffle. And, btw: that's a REALLY nice touch, putting that in there.

This is a really fine piece, Tobin! Made even better, for me, by knowing that it's live...
Check out my latest song called 'Cuz I Can
steck said 4365 days ago (November 2nd, 2007)
On the downside, after 2 listens, I would agree that since it was pointed out, yes, trumpet is a tad on the loud side.

That said, that shouldn't detract from the overall recording.

My gut feeling is that even in MP3 format that the live ensemble recording (I don't have a good set of headphones anymore but a good amp/speaker set up) and the sound landscape was captured in perfect shape and was extremely vivid and lost none of the ambiance of the studio.

Thanks for the VERY early preview Sir T !!!
Check out my latest song called Takin' it all down
steck said 4364 days ago (November 2nd, 2007)
Don't get me wrong, but what a terrific ending !!

Very classy !!

Check out my latest song called Takin' it all down
Ibstrat said 4364 days ago (November 2nd, 2007)
Great music-don't think the trumpet is too loud.I don't mind slight imperfections in the mix when the playing is this good.Listen to "Live at Massey Hall" with Gillespie,Parker,Powell,Roach,and Mingus on Bass.The mix is really weird in places but who cares?
Those are some great charts.I am amazed at your versatility and sheer talent.Thanks for cluing me in to this-I love it!
Check out my latest song called What the
lengold said 4364 days ago (November 2nd, 2007)
The recording
balances are less important to me than the overall energy and sheer musicianship of it. The slight imperfections are what make it real. Loved it.

Check out my latest song called Decent Girl
Feter said 4364 days ago (November 2nd, 2007)
Lightning Strikes
Just so fine ...Hot and alive ..Fugue ? ..it wasnt
that long but it shows how cool this ensemble is..
"a blast" thnx for sharin it !!
Check out my latest song called Roll with it
said 4364 days ago (November 2nd, 2007)
Live energy
There's a very real energy and drive here that I think is almost always lacking in studio session recordings; I'm immediately put in mind of early, live Hat Hut recordings. I know what you mean about the trumpet and the piano, but they're not imperfections at all: they're the perfectly acceptable sonic changes any audience would hear at so vigorous a performance. You can practically hear the musicians jostling for space. A spectacular job. I haven't heard the others, but this immediately grabs the listener by the collar; reconsider the decision to place this later in the disc.
said 4364 days ago (November 2nd, 2007)
cool tunage!
Nice big band sound! I can picture this on NPR jazzy sundays
ktb said 4364 days ago (November 2nd, 2007)
very cool
it swells, it washes. its very original. quite the ensemble piece. just some outstanding performances here. i esp like the horns. hard to beleive you only ran this 2-3 times. i simply can not discern any weak spot. i know you had concerns as to the mix, but for a live performance its exceptional. bravo
Check out my latest song called Blackwater (by Tokai)
Moviz said 4364 days ago (November 2nd, 2007)
great clarity of all the instruments on this number. The trumpet is fine for me as are all the other instruments... as we all know MP3 always seems to thin sound down, but all is fine at this end and a great composition too, cheers M
Check out my latest song called We'll Meet Again
jiguma said 4364 days ago (November 2nd, 2007)
Impressive post Tobin!
I agree about the horns, but also think the drums, B3 and piano could be brought up more (maybe dropping the trumpet back might achieve this to a certain extent). This isn't a style I'm very familiar with, but the sheer energy, timing and musicianship is a joy to the ears. For a live recording, this is quite amazing.
Thanks Tobin,
Check out my latest song called Le Chemin De La Vie
Dj French Toast said 4364 days ago (November 2nd, 2007)
Nice B3 work !
WOW just listened to it Thrice in a row and incredible Tobin ...im a huge fan of Mingus and well of jazz in general ..I lean toward the Free jazz side way more than the smooth jazz side for sure ....this piece has tons of energy and made me close my eyes to think ...First how kool is it that you get to play with your nephew sweetness ! Love the fact that it wasnt polished that was my favorite thing about it ...so much recorded jazz is spit shined and it takes all the soul out of the music ...this is raw and emotional and soulful ...your right about the horns bein alittle loud but man that adds to it there not killin the red line their just lettin you know that they are there . Loved the playfulness of the tune as well it felt like you guys were playin a good game of not-it ...or tag ....The over all feel of the song was awesome and well recorded ...thanx for making and sharing music man !
Check out my latest song called Sweeter no doubt (Beat by Sweet 79)
stratcat said 4364 days ago (November 2nd, 2007)
Great jazz ensemble, the recording sounds fine, I don't have a problem with the trumpet. The last break sounds a bit chaotic, you may want to simplify the overcrowded feeling, (only on the last break). (Just my opinion) Other than that I really like it.
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missye said 4364 days ago (November 2nd, 2007)
Fast and Quick
I feel up tempo.
And Quick.

And thanks for your letter to me.

You play alone?
or with team mate?

And feel running.
swiming and smiling.
Yes it sports music , I feel.

If ending is more atractive,
It is best!
Check out my latest song called today wind tomorrow weather
bonnieprincejohnny said 4364 days ago (November 2nd, 2007)
Be bop
Yeah - great mix - ow - how it picks up from a previous mighty vibe in the 3rd quarter... I don't understand the finale but who gives a fuck.
Boss tune. Be Lucky.
Check out my latest song called twenty seven
said 4364 days ago (November 2nd, 2007)
Very nice!
To me, the horns only sounded a "tad" too loud at times, but otherwise seemed to fit OK. This is a great piece that moves along nicely. I'd really like to see this played live- lots of energy here!
timothy devine said 4364 days ago (November 2nd, 2007)
I am astounded by your abundant talents. Your band sounds great. The mix is tough thing with all the live performers. I can only imagine. There are people who spend a life time micing live music. I use to work with a man in 'Atoria Studios'(Kaufman Astoria Studios,NYC) who was an expert. He miced gigs like the grammys and classical music for great opera singers.
Perhaps he could lend some advice in the future.
Are you near NYC?

This tune is great and i look forward to hearing more from this session.

The improv ending is outstanding.

Check out my latest song called Inside of You
J.A.Stewart said 4364 days ago (November 2nd, 2007)
Great Live Session Piece
Yeah! This has a great live feel to it... Big Band Jazz... Hotcha!

The horns are a bit overwhelming in the mix, but there's not much to be done about that unless you record them a few rooms down the hall. ;)

Still, perhaps it's that audio dominance that gives this take additional energy. In some ways, it's almost like a brass curtain... and when it opens, the other instruments seem to emerge and step up for their solos.

A very cool composition, well-played... and captured.

--- Joe
Check out my latest song called Crankenhurst Challenge - Verse 1-7 (Inst. Break)
fatastro said 4364 days ago (November 2nd, 2007)
O my God!!!
It's been a while since I have visited the MJ. I am so glad the first thing I hit upon was was you. I knew you wouldn't let me down. All i can say is PERFECT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Check out my latest song called Supplemental Flair
Stun Nutz said 4364 days ago (November 2nd, 2007)
This is one "take you and shake you around the room" piece of work! Or, maybe "jerk about with a pack of wild (but friendly) animals" kind of jazz. I totally agree with moorlandt... the trumpet (and horns) give this a nice edge. I don't think it is too loud. Great teaser for the album, this is.
Check out my latest song called stagnation
composerclark said 4364 days ago (November 3rd, 2007)
No problems
I hear no reall problems in the mix. it sounds like a live recording, which of course it is, but in live recording you expect to hear slight balance issues, and as long as they are slight, for me this is not a problem at all. I wouldn't have said the trumpet is too loud... it's a loud, in-your-face instrument, played accordingly here by a very good trumpeter. The piano, on the other hand, can't really compete very well with the rest of the band in terms of volume, and while my personal preference would be to have the piano a little more prominent in the mix, it sounds to me about as loud as pianos tend to be in live jazz band performances. Ditto for the bass.

So, no real balance problems, and a very fine performance of a very good piece.
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steck said 4364 days ago (November 3rd, 2007)
top shout
Excellent shout BTW.

Check out my latest song called Takin' it all down
said 4364 days ago (November 3rd, 2007)
You Mr tobin are pushin it love this. So many part to this arrangement and you guys are flawless. What a great talented group of musicians the build to the end is amazing! Whew you just cant listen to this once! downloaded thanks for sharing!
peacepiano said 4363 days ago (November 3rd, 2007)
Love the modern big band sound. The fugue effect does work very well. Think I'll be following this project.

Check out my latest song called Beat SoloMe-O
thetiler said 4363 days ago (November 3rd, 2007)
A real tobin
treat !

The mix seems to be done quite nice. Great variations indeed. Love that stop with the bass going "bong" like an elastic rubber band. End was very cool indeed. Lots of changes to really satisfy the jazz enthusiast as well as any Tobin musical enthusiast which are many I'm sure.

Way to go Tobin! Thanks so much for sending the guitar maker website. What a treat !
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craft said 4363 days ago (November 4th, 2007)
great job
really pro work... This traack has a lot of energy and motion... I love it
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Diviner said 4363 days ago (November 4th, 2007)
Very impressed. Real instruments, original composition etc all sounds very good and live. The energy in the track is electric. Fair play this is an amazing track. Well done.
Check out my latest song called Away ft Lokka
Scorpjammer said 4362 days ago (November 4th, 2007)
Awesome, T!

I can see it now. The Tobin Mueller Big Band, with TB chevrons on the front of the band stands.

The piano and B3 sound great together. The bass line is luscious and the horn arrangement is killin!'

I love the tempo change from double-timing to swinging.


Can't wait to hear more!

10s all the way!

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buckhorn said 4362 days ago (November 4th, 2007)
The Edge
What I know about Jazz, could fit in a thimble. But from what I've heard. This reminds me of Miles Davis. Really Cool to hear a live performance. This is a Jam what is a Jam.
Check out my latest song called when you smile
algabatz said 4362 days ago (November 5th, 2007)
Wow, the sound is great. I agree that the trumpet is a tad too loud, especially at the beginning, but You might try putting a compressor on it, it's really just the very sharp notes that stands out. I really love the swing part at the middle where the drums keeps-a-rollin'. Not as fond of the more atonal part that follows, though. But since I'm more of a Herb Alpert person than a Wynton Marsalis one, I think I should maybe shut up ;-) Love the sound of that bass. Nothing beats real instruments. Very energetic.
Very good, I'm really impressed. Sounds like a true live recording. Especially the piano is excellent and I love the organ sneaking in. Close Your eyes and You're there!
/ Algabatz
Check out my latest song called Hunting down luck
said 4361 days ago (November 5th, 2007)
Wow! You never cease to amaze me. It must of been a huge thrill to work with so many talented people at once.
I really enjoyed the swinging in the middle of the piece.
I think the mix is fine. The horns are a bit loud at certain parts for me, but overall, an outstanding piece
of musicianship. Well done and a hats off to everyone who was involved.

What an enjoyable listen. Thanks for the download.

davisamerica said 4361 days ago (November 5th, 2007)
now that swings!
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lostsongs said 4361 days ago (November 6th, 2007)
Holy smokes Tobin
is there nothing you can't do. This is great. How about taking the LSP challenge?
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FrankAxtell said 4361 days ago (November 6th, 2007)
I think this mix sounds real good...I'd leave it alone. Good work!
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SpasmodicMan said 4361 days ago (November 6th, 2007)
The ending is the best! That fugue is boss,and you're telling is that's the part that is partially improvised? Wow. Intellectual chaos, the best kind of oxymoron. Yes, could use more organ in that middle bluesy section. The trumpet blares, reminds me of high school pep band when the lead trumpet stands up. But all is more than forgiven in the end. I can see the lightning striking the tower, making its way down to the monster as it animates... The future will never be the same.
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Doadars Uncle said 4358 days ago (November 8th, 2007)
Too cool!
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thoddi said 4357 days ago (November 9th, 2007)
Struck by lightning indeed
First - I am very impressed with the performances of every one involved here. The piano, the bass, the drums, the horns... and I think I notice a very cool sound in there that must be a B3 organ;)

Is this played after sheet music or just jammed after a rough sketch? I never get how you guys do this kind of very advanced stuff. All of those fast soloing runs going on and at some places what might seem like a chaotic place to be, and bam, suddenly you all meet up and agree on some common notes. I feel a little Frank Zappa resemblance in the way he controlled his musicians in a similar way.

Bottom line - as I said, I'm very impressed.

The recording sounds great on my stuff. Fantastic job getting this live session to sound as tight and good as this. Getting each part to show up in the transparent mix is proof of a good job. I especially dig how the bass has its space in here. And I've noticed his playing in your songs before. He is a brilliant bass player with fantastic timing. Please tell him he has a fan in Norway:) I think I agree about the trumpet being a bit up front in the mix, but not annoying.

What a thrill it must be playing with these great musicians. And you are up in the league with the very best your self Mr. Mueller. The composition and arrangement shows what you're able to pull of.

Check out my latest song called How can I make it up to you
Z293 said 4357 days ago (November 10th, 2007)
Quite a cast
of characters you have here. Obviously all have a wonderful command of their instruments. Great live recording if you ask me.
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cchaplin said 4354 days ago (November 12th, 2007)
Oh I don't know !
Hi Tobin,

It's really nitpicking, but here is what my untrained ears detected:

I like the organ in version 2 better up to the "bluesy" section where I feel it is too noticeably louder and distorted and covers the piano a bit too much. But that might just be the effect of me reading what you have changed and having to pick between the two versions.

So - if I understood you correctly - I would keep the EQ changes you made in version 2 (which seems to bring out the organ a bit more anyway) but without the noticeably louder organ in the bluesy section.

Then again I might just be hearing things from the simple power of your suggestions !

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cchaplin said 4354 days ago (November 12th, 2007)
Oh dear !
This should really be posted on version 2, sorry.
Check out my latest song called IV
damiengh said 4353 days ago (November 13th, 2007)
Tobin, guess I didn't know this side of you. Listen to much Toshiko_Akiyoshi ?


Nice job here.
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Drew Kopr said 4349 days ago (November 18th, 2007)
Call me lame,
but, Tobin, I f'in love this! I wish you did more of this stuff...you must have a natural feel for it when combined with your other musical endeavors. This track is just fantastic and so very well done. I wouldn't change anything and, while I know your ear is extremely precise, relaxing it on the nuances in this tunes makes it sound spectacular. Great stuff man!!
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Name: Tobin Mueller
Location: Rowayton CT USA
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I am a professional musician, composer, playwright and director. I've led a charmed life. I'm married to fellow MJer Suzanne and MJer Twonicus is my son, who currently sings and writes for rock bands in the NYC, D.C. and Cleveland areas. My second s... [see more]

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