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Old Grandad – “The Last Upper” – [MIA Records]

1999 full-length from this defunct trio of San Francisco metal-heads…Erik Moggridge (formerly of Epidemic) on guitar and vocalsWill Carroll (Death Angel) on drums…and Max Barnett (Hammers Of Misfortune) on bass. A compulsive swill of thrash, speed, death, doom, and grind…viscous, potent, dire, unrelenting riffs cozied with abstract, depraved, mordantly psychotic lyrical themes. Multiple voices careen about with toxically schizophrenic changes in angle, tempo and allusion.

Highly recommend…Track 3 (blend of classic stoner-doom and speed-thrash)…Track 4 (psychedelic fusion of doom and grind)…Track 6 (intense, melodic collision of death and thrash)…Track 7(convergence of doom, death and grind with a phonetically nonsensical call and response)…Track 8 (more entrancing doom-grind groove-age)…Track 9 (acrid plumes of doom and death)…

***All tracks contain naughty language, except 3, 6, 7 and 8***

  • Reviewed by Roland Blunt on November 28, 2012 at 4:48 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Vainio, Mika – “Magnetite” – [Touch Records]

    2012 solo effort from Mika Vainio (founding member of the Finnish minimalist electronic duo Pan Sonic)…an elemental attraction of silence and noise, documented through micro and macroscopic application of tone generation, manipulated radio signals, various acoustic sound sources (wood, glass, cymbals, device clicks), as well as drastically dynamic production techniques. A contemporary study in deep listening: anticipation…interruption…expectation…juxtaposition…introspection. The sonic material is conceptually bent toward the most magnetic of all naturally occurring minerals on Earth, with the title of each movement lending prominent impression to the respective experiences…Magnetia portends the overall impetus of the material, with desolate tapping giving way to abrupt shifts in aural intensity…Magnetotactic orients itself to the pull of concentrated energy ranging from power electronic washes to distant rumbles and piercing alert tones…Magnetosphere deflects a mounting bombardment of highly charged particles…Magnetosense scans the invisible landscape for underlying stimuli…Magnetism responds to varying fields of concentrated noise…Magnetosome crystallizes in an icy, electro-acoustic drift.

     

  • Reviewed by Roland Blunt on November 21, 2012 at 1:25 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Mehr, Markus – “On” – [Hidden Shoal Recordings]

     

    Circa 2011-2012 release from German sound artist Markus Mehr. The second part of a triptych…In, On, Off…that features a powerfully cinematic blend of stark ambient-electro-acoustic experimentation, and industrial-noise leanings. Composed with computers, samples, field recordings, synthesizers, processed guitars and distortion pedalsOn is just that: awake…aware…ready…primed. Focused compositions that sponsor tender, neo-classical ambient treks meandering through oceans of quanta…toward unreconsiled power electronic cascades.

    Track 1…opens the album with a grinding, electro-industrial loop encompassing a wash of synth arpeggios…Track 2 brings to mind the placid tide from an ocean of fire gradually consuming a shoreline...Track 3 is a gentle, swirling dance of electrostatic particles radiating the subdued transmissions of an interstellar SirenTrack 4 & Track 5 are lush, orchestral flights toward upper atmospheres…Track 6 emits random, undulating bursts of cartoon-ish (Greek folk music?) signals…Track 7 emerges an ethereal nebulae of field recorded conversations and Gregorian chant…Track 8…tranquil washes of piano, harpsichord and static lull the listener toward a somnambulent oblivion.

     

     

  • Reviewed by Roland Blunt on November 14, 2012 at 10:20 am
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Akiyama, Tetuzi/Van Wissem, Jozef – “Hymn For A Fallen Angel” – [Incanabulum]

    Avante tangling of Japanese experimental guitarist Tetuzi Akiyama and Dutch neo-Baroque lutist Josef Van Wissem…composed using a technique by where Akiyama recorded the guitar in Garageband and then sent the tracks to Van Wissem who layered his lute over the guitar by reacting visually to the sound files, but without listening. Slowgentle, sparse, abrupt, removed, pondering lilts…of liquid note droplets (Track 1), or note bubbles bursting (Track 2), and notes lapping against the shore (Track 4). With the use of bottle-neck slides, Tracks 3, 5, & 6 sound as if they were performed by some sort of Zombie bluegrass band with their decrepit synapses firing off notes as they leisurely munch on musician brains…Track 7 evokes the idea of note-breezes blowing through note-chimes and rapping against shutters of notes, and serves as a prime example of how this recording traffics melody for silence, subconsciously forcing the mind to rummage for cohesion.

  • Reviewed by Roland Blunt on November 14, 2012 at 8:06 am
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Bastard Noise, The – “Rogue Astronaut” – [Gravity Records]

    Transmissions (circa 2009) from the experimental tangent of the seminal power violence clan…Man Is The Bastard. Long-time members W.T. Nelsonelectronics…and Eric Woodelectronics, lyrics, vocals…construct and command mission-specific devices (electro-acoustic coils, arcade game joystick-controlled high and low voltage analog audio generators) to spawn power electronic noisescapes that taunt the notion of an impending, supra terrestrial dystopia. Dominant expressions of cosmic dread unleashed through overtly disconnected instrumentation and harsh vocalizations.

    Track 1 pierces the silence of deep space with a dynamic arsenal of deconstructed aural events encompassing and accentuating ethereal laments of intergalactic imprisonment. Track 2 unfurls a sparse, glub-step beat underscoring the guttural rants of a twisted overlord. Track 3, with additional vocals from Leila Rauf (Hammers of Misfortune), is an epic dark ambient trek that references an Outer Limits episode where researchers on an alien planet live in fear of a man wearing goggles, a man who is paranoid and powerful – and can read minds. Track 4, featuring vocals from Justin Pearson and Robert Bray of The Locust, inundates with a frustrated tension. Track 5 & Track 6…which, also showcase some some stellar voicework from Rauf and Wood, drift inexorably toward the stark oblivion of an event horizon.

     

  • Reviewed by Roland Blunt on October 31, 2012 at 5:11 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Mouthus – “Sister Vibration” – [Our Mouth Records]

    2006 full-length release from east coast noise-iacs Nate Nelson (drums, electronics) and Brian Sullivan (guitar, keys, voice). Recorded in roughly a week, and exploiting a single-take mentality, this exertion represents a studio accomplishment of their live-performance sound at that time: an impressively novel concoction of scuzz-drone-feedback guitar loop-age, plaintiff groans, and mesmerizing tripno-rhythms.

    A pentagonal discharge of riveting, primeval sonic apparitions emanating the metrical spasms of possessed cyborgs, undulating in a techno-tribal pon farr, traipsing across a contaminated landscape, forging emnity, while playing power electronic bagpipes on horseback…

  • Reviewed by Roland Blunt on October 31, 2012 at 10:21 am
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
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  • Scarcity Of Tanks – “Vulgar Defender” – [Total Life Society]

    Revolving door collaboration championed by Cleveland, Ohio native poet/vocalist Matthew Wascovich…merging post-Punk, No Wave, and improvisational attitudes…this SOT incarnation features Nick Lesley (Necking) on guitar, John “Slow Hand” Morton (electric eels) on guitar & theremin, Jim Sauter (Borbetomagus) on saxophone, Kid Millions (Oneida) on drums, and Weasal Walter (The Flying Lutenbachers) on bass.

    An onslaught of urgent, intense, raucous tracks…each, certainly, not lacking in its abundance of searing, disconnected, angular, feedback-soaked guitar riffs… catawampus wordplay…hints of sax, keyboard and theremin…congealed by a solid rhythm section that propels the cacophony into recognition. Laid back grooves that become laid-out jams, walls of noise constantly being broken down… romantic notions of aural conflict… vocals blended so as to draw the listener shrewdly into the mix…

    …”My fist is rubbing your face”.

    Recommended Tracks: 2, 4, 5, 6, 7

    ***Warning: Track 5 has a naughty word***

  • Reviewed by Roland Blunt on September 12, 2012 at 3:09 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Morris, Joe Wildlife – “Traits” – [Riti Records]

    Primal, free jazz-nastics rooted in the post-bop stylings of John Coltrane, Charles Mingus and Ornette Coleman….from four accomplished members of the Boston music scene: Joe Morris (bass); Luther Gray (drums); Jim Hobbs (alto sax); Pete Cancura (tenor sax).

    Six protracted tracks that stalk, mark and defend their sonic territory with finely-tuned abandon. Each movement’s name is effectively expressed in the dynamics of the performances. Track 1 is restless and bawling…Track 2 is pensive and meandering…Track 3 wanders, scurries, wanders…Track 4 is a hard-bop respite…Track 5 features a sly, camouflaged groove…Track 6 returns to the protective intensity of the opening track.

    What stands out about this album is the subtly of each musicians delivery…this is palpably hostile music with soft, furry edges.

     

  • Reviewed by Roland Blunt on August 1, 2012 at 11:19 am
  • Filed as CD,Jazz
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  • Porter, Roly – “Aftertime” – [Subtext]

    Debut solo album from Roly Porter: british sound artist, and former member of the innovative dubstep duo Vex’d. Astonishing intermingle of ondes martenot, dulcitone, melodica, viola, violin, and cello…with dark ambient textures, power electronic noise elements, samples, and random rhythmic minimalism that fabricates 10 slanted, preoccupied, passive aggressive sonic happenings on tenterhooks. Unusual propagation of classic instruments with digital processing and exploitation: filmic, chambered, overwrought, seething, hesitant, entropic moments that sizzle, scuff, nod, gist, throb, groan, and pilfer about structure.

    - Roland Blunt

  • Reviewed by Roland Blunt on July 17, 2012 at 2:22 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
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  • [coll] – “Never Not Fresh” – [Decon Records]

    Rap compilation from New York-based media/production company Decon Records, featuring a notable roster of Emcees & Deejays collaborating to flaunt a dappled array of verbal and musical acrobatics. Aceyalone, RJD2, Jurrasic 5, Blackalicious, The Alchemist, and Del The Funky Homosapien shine brightest among other heavyweights of the hip hop overground, such as Casual, Lyrics Born, Abstract Rude, Micah 9, Chali 2na, and Dilated Peoples.

    Recommend: Track 2 for its smooth flow and rolling groove; Track 3 for its clever production and strong rhymes; Track 6 for it’s uber-collaborative tongue twistage; Track 10 for laid back vibe and strong hook; Track 14…RJD2′s impressively lush theme music for AMC’s Mad Men.

    ***Tracks 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 10, 11, & 13 have naughty language!!!***

  • Reviewed by Roland Blunt on July 16, 2012 at 2:46 pm
  • Filed as CD,Hip Hop
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  • Allerseelen – “Schwartzer Rab” – [Aorta]

    Schwartzer Rab (“Black Raven”) is a circa 1989 performance by Allerseelen (“All Souls Day”): Austrian musician Gerhard Petak (aka Caedmon). Inspired by nature, alchemy, ritual, as well as the existentialist, nihilist, anarchist, and reactionary writing of Friedrich Nietzsche, Ernst Junger, and Julius Evola, this sonic material emanates a reflective, brooding, post-industrial, dark ambient moodscape. Apparently, this recording was actually a shamanic ritual disguised as a dramatic act…its reverance focused on the role of the raven in mythology as a messenger…trixter…creator…destroyer…a mediator between spititual and material realms. Track 1 consists of the background music that was implemented during the main performance, and Tracks 2-6 are related material recorded the same month. Each subsequent movement utilizes a similar deployment of synthesizers, samples, loops, effects and live intrumentation as the primary piece…but with varied mixing and concentration of sound.

    Track 1 (29:47)…entrancing, distraught, numinous, oblique and gloomy. An aural harbinger fraught with a gripping cadence, trembling notes, and reiterate screeches.

  • Reviewed by Roland Blunt on June 13, 2012 at 4:35 pm
  • Filed as A Library,Cassette
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  • Golgotha Communications LTD. – “Diet’a z dobrej rodiny” – [Scotch Tapes]

    "Diet'a z dobrej rodiny" Cassette Artwork

    Circa 2009 cassette issue by Philadelphia, PA trio…Josef K, Greco-Norwegian, and Penny Petticoat…recording as Golgotha Communications LTD. An enthralling necromantic synthesis of dark ambience, mangled voices, samples, noise, electronics, effects, tape manipulation…neoteric in their exploitation of silence, repetition, pattern, inversion, accumulation, and the gross amalgamation of sound incidents from track to track…mellifluous, disturbed, solemn, introverted, peaked…slanted more so toward classical musique concrete than modern industrial wanderings. Hypnotic disseminations from a tenebrous cabal that sagaciously crack your attention. Decant this potion into your earhole, forthwith. Side A/Side B both approximately 22 minutes. “Diet’a z dobrej rodiny” means “Child From a Good Family” in slovak…and he’s apparently concerned with the problem of sex…

  • Reviewed by Roland Blunt on May 23, 2012 at 5:51 pm
  • Filed as A Library,Cassette
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  • Heino, Keiji/O’Rourke, Jim/Ambarchi, Oren – “Imikuzushi” – [Black Truffle]

    Third, full-length, sonic collaboration between Keiji Haino ( Fushitsusha ), Jim O’Rourke ( Gastr del Sol, Sonic Youth ), and Oren Ambarchi ( Phlegm, Sunn O))) ). Four side-long excursions of avante-psych-noise-rock-power trio wizardry that inveigle lunacy with unabashed recalcitrance. Haino’s ( Guitaxe, Voice ) knack soars, screeches, careens, and slices through O’Rourke ( Bass ) and Ambarchi’s ( Drums ) unalloyed pulsating rachis. His guitar toils like odium furrowing rows in your mind, while his voice arrives at will. The blatant wielding of effects transform his instrument into a finely ground hammond organ…a mutated, ululating synthesaur…and a diamond-tipped drill bit…bent, thrashing, writhing…carving its way into your sensibilities.

    Side A ( 13:40 ) – Tout de suite maelstrom churning fervently at the edge of cohesion.

    Side B ( 16:52 ) – Turned stirrings in a brown study ascend to a manic, blue, clobbering groove.

    Side C ( 22:26 ) – A measured dervish slinks about the alluring lick of a proscribed blaze.

    Side D ( 17:37 ) – Tout de suite toe-tapper conjuring a Hendixian soniverse perhaps a few more stones from the Sun than three…

  • Reviewed by Roland Blunt on May 23, 2012 at 9:59 am
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
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  • [coll] Sagan Genesis – “Mollusk In Water” / Waxy Tomb – “Take One, Try All” – [Weird Forest]

    Split cassette collection from, Sacramento-based, Weird Forest Records featuring two KDVS (UC Davis Radio/ TechnoCultural Studies) related sound artists: Sagan Genesis (John Brumley) & Waxy Tomb (Julia Litmer-Cleper). A subtly drastic synthesis of electronic signals, field recordings, voice, and noise elements deployed through explorations of avante-garde recording, editing, mixing techniques.

    Side A – Sagan Genesis…(0:00-14:26) entropic, subaqueous plumes of resonate noise meander, pitch, squish, burble, brood, surge within an extramundane realm. (14:26-19:59) placid buoyant plashes surface. (19:59-23:46) precipitate toggle to an enchanted swell of chimes. (23:46-28:21) toggle to a blushing phlegmatic carousel of synth. (28:21-29:59) toggle to a country tune superimposed within a field recording of classroom lecture. *False ending @ 29:38*

    Side B – Waxy Tomb…Ten tracked movements of psychoactive otherworldly transmissions…pulses, vibrations, squeaks, squelches, rumbles,??demented device noodling, mutated voices, eerie synth swells, eruptions of twisted electronics, rhythmic industrial leanings…warped narration of noise-powered contrivances struggling into motion.

  • Reviewed by Roland Blunt on May 2, 2012 at 6:57 pm
  • Filed as A Library,Cassette
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  • Mullins, Patrick – “Farewell, Friend and Helper” – [Underwater Experiences]

    Solo work from Patrick Mullins: former member of Burmese, and Orinoka Crash Suite. Delicate blend of field recordings, synthesizer, electronics, tape manipulation, acoustic and electric guitar. A mellow, captivating, deep listening experience…with select moments of resounding intensity.

    Side A : Track 1 (0:00-04:03)…breathy ambient washes. Track 2 (04:03-10:55)…crickets, tones, eerie silence, fumbling, gentle acoustic strumming. Track 3 (10:55-15:30)..swirling acoustic melody surrounded by squishy, electronic muck…intensified noise-drone-tone transmission rises during the last 01:54.

    Side B: Track 1 (0:00-06:43)…reprised acoustic melody transforms into electro-ambient submersion of notes, tones and grumbles. Track 2 (06:43-08:57)…acoustic noodling, noise washes, traffic, footsteps, birds chirping. Track 3 (08:57-16:15)…languid acoustic picking overtaken by persistent tone-drones swells, footsteps in wet sand/dirt guide you out.

     

  • Reviewed by Roland Blunt on May 2, 2012 at 6:04 pm
  • Filed as A Library,Cassette
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  • Demdike Stare – “Elemental” – [Modern Love Records]

    CD re-issue of original tracks, alternate takes, and bonus material from Elemental LP (2011), the 6th full-length release by British duo Sean Canty and Miles Whittaker.

    Bewitching brume of dark ambient industrial noise, musique concrete, and rhythmic minimalism. A foreboding, cinematic, pensive, slithering, menacing gape of sounds that petition the abyss through languid gurgling, stark cavernous drone-washes, electro-static soundings, ceded unlocked grooves, soaring machine hums, looming anxious palpitating beats, dour strings, twisted electronics, gravitational lurches, and disturbed calculated rhythms.

    CD 1 is far creepier in its approach. The rhythms are more subdued and evoke darker sonic apparitions. Track 5 deploys an aggressive, groovy meld of industrial noises and Eastern instrumental sounds. Track 8 is a meditative call to prayer from techno-Mecca. Track 10 sounds like a Basic Channel horror film sound design.

    CD 2 is more rhythmic. Track 2 is a tribal onslought accented by stentorian drums. Track 4 has a mellow drum circle vibe. Track 7 drifts along in a pensive clockwork beat.

    For maximum results, do mix the tracks on both discs.

  • Reviewed by Roland Blunt on April 25, 2012 at 6:49 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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  • Chapels – “That Incorrigible Death’s-Head” – [Robert & Leopold]

    Droning, industrial noise-mospheric experimentation from Buffalo, NY-based artist, and force behind House Of Alchemy label, Adam Richards. Two, side-long compositions of abstract sonic creep-age that lurch, scrape and grub at your brainium. Acoustic feedback, delay loops, as well as live manipulation of equipment, objects and voice are exploited to fashion soundscapes that inspire an acute texture of distress.

    Side A (19:46) – Ethereal, portentous, distrait, maniacal tinkering….as icy moments of deep, alluring dread linger before the act.

    Side B (20:19) – Jovian scour for terrestrial sap induces a timorous relent to a psycho-sonic fugue.

  • Reviewed by Roland Blunt on April 11, 2012 at 9:28 am
  • Filed as A Library,Cassette
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  • Wooden Shjips – “Remixes” – [Thrill Jockey]

    Remix EP featuring source material from San Francisco psych-rock band Wooden Shjips…guitarist Erik “Ripley” Johnson, bassist Dusty Jermier, organist Nash Whalen, and percussionist Omar Ahsanuddin…whose collective sounds hark back to the driving, melodic, minimalist, ethereal transmissions of Hawkwind, The Velvet Underground, The Soft Machine, Loop, Spacemen 3

    Side A/Track 1 – remix of “Crossing”, from 2011 album West, by producer Andrew Weatherall (previous collaborations w/ Paul Oakenfold, New Order, Primal Scream, My Bloody Valentine)…a techno-dance interpretation featuring electronic drums, pitch-shifted vocals, manic synth, and sticky-sweet bass.

    Side A/Track 2 – mash up of sounds from West by Sonic Boom (Peter Kember of Spacemen 3/Spectrum/E.A.R)…a swirling fog of sonic boomage inspired while Kember was mastering the West album, as well as recognizing the influence of Red Krayola on the band’s sound.

    Side B/Track 1 – collaboration w/ Kandodo (Simon Price from The Heads)…sound bed provided by “Ripley” Johnson, with additional instrumentation/production by Price…entrancing, almost a locked groove feel.

  • Reviewed by Roland Blunt on March 27, 2012 at 11:52 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
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  • Lambkin, Graham – “Amateur Doubles” – [Kye Records]

    A genuinely ambient sonic experience put forth by English sound-visual artist/author Graham Lambkin – a founding member of The Shadow Ring (1993-2003) which produced a unique DIY blend of folk music, abstract electronics, noise and surrealist poetry. Recorded in a Honda Civic (which serves as performance/recording space), this effort embodies the subjective happening of a passenger in a moving vehicle. Lambkin utilizes natural, passive sound incidents associated with traveling in a car (the drone/noises produced by the engine and the wind, the external atmosphere of passing locations, the rhythm of the tires on the road, as well as the physical presence/sounds of other passengers) in concert with track layering, editing, live playing of CD’s on the car stereo, and the obvious manipulation of the recording device to achieve a strangely familiar atmosphere. This record is a challenged, deep-listening experience that evokes contemplation on musicianship, authorship, creativity…and introspection of trips long passed.

    Side A (19:45)…music from Philippe Besombes/Jean-Louis Rizet Pole…quieter side…subtle music (flute/synth) mixing gently with internal/external environments.

    Side B (18:00)…music from Philippe Grancher 3000 Miles Away…noisier side…music style more pronounced…overwhelming, at times, the internal/external environments…although the last 3 minutes return, somewhat, to the feel of Side A.

  • Reviewed by Roland Blunt on March 14, 2012 at 12:28 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
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  • Hair Police – “The Empty Quarter” – [Troubleman Unlimited]

    Mad strangeness from this trio of psychedelic noise-icians out of Lexington, Kentucky…with spiritual and creative cross-pollination from the likes of Wolf Eyes, Prurient, and Burning Star Core. Mike Connelly (guitar, vocals, tape manipulation, noise), Robert Beatty (electronics), and Trevor Tremaine (drums, vocals, tape manipulation) create an ominous, searing, screeching, seething, maniacal, grimy, guttural, tortured sonic assault fraught with swelling oscillator tones, soaring rumble-sweeps…ill-gotten ecstatic wails, restrained respirations…a devolving radioactive bombardment of rip-squeak-squelch-disintegration beams…scanning a contracted and overwhelmed soulscape. The world does not end with a whimper, but a bang. And , this is certainly a soundtrack for the aftermath.

  • Reviewed by Roland Blunt on March 7, 2012 at 4:53 pm
  • Filed as 12-inch,A Library
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