Wednesday, October 01, 2008

This Site Has Moved

I'm moving on and now you can follow me on

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Digital 'Double Shot' Kicks 026

A big hello to all you listeners out there and welcome to Digital Kicks 026. I'm your host-with-the-most DJ Kub. This month's mix is a special one because it features double shots of some of the best artists making some of the best music around.

Things kick off with Olaf Gutbrod, who goes by the artist name of Ohm G. He is currently the resident DJ at Atzaro in the lovely island of Ibiza. When he isn't spinning dance grooves on the wheels of steel, he is busy recording chilled out ambient music with the knobs and dials of style. Here he is with two tunes of heavenly synths and silky beats.

01. Almost Alive - Ohm G
02. La Fleur De Vie (Ambient Mix) - Ohm G

Next up we move to the man with a plan who puts the bass in your face. It's Julien Jabre and his unique, deep House sounds. His tracks have something for your body and your mind.

03. That Day - Julien Jabre
04. Deliverance - Julien Jabre

Our next double shot takes us back to the halcyon days of the late 1970s. Gary Numan and Paul Gardiner met in 1977 in the 'Big Smoke'. They played in both Punk and New Wave Bands together before accidentally discovering synthesizers and their shared love of science fiction. 1979 saw the release of their second long playing album, 'Replicas', which made them Electro pioneers and eventually, when combined with bad fashion sense and dodgy haircuts, became a major influence for the New Romantics.

05. You Are In My Vision - Tubeway Army
06. Are 'Friends' Electric (Early Version) - Tubeway Army

Now we are gettin' serious people. Listen up. From a seven piece group singing to an eight piece group rapping, you better give it up for the Witty Unpredictable Talent and Natural Game Clan. And they ain't nothing to f' wit. They are the Wisdom, Universe, Truth, Allah, Nation and God Clan. And I am telling you they ain't nothing to f' wit.

07. Wu-Tang Clan Ain't Nuthing To F' Wit - Wu-Tang Clan
08. Shame On A Nigga - Wu-Tang Clan

Two songs! Seven piece band! Them playing! You listening! Don't touch that dial! It's Los Campesinos!

09. We Throw Parties, You Throw Knives - Los Campesinos
10. It Started With A Mixx - Los Campesinos

You are listening to Digital Kicks. I am DJ Kub, playing all the platters that matter and dropping the beats from the streets, including these two tracks from the hippest, sharpest dressed man in all of Hip Hop today

11. Flashing Lights - Kanye West ft Dwele
12. I Wonder - Kanye West

Let's take it down a notch now with some heartbroken Soul music from Adele Laurie Blue Adkins. Adele has said that she was influenced by Etta James and Dusty Springfield by complete accident. She claims that she went to HMV one day and was looking through the sales section for some ideas for a new hairstyle when she discovered CDs by both artists. She bought them, took them home, played them and started singing immediately. Now if she could just do something with her hair...

13. Right As Rain - Adele
14. Chasing Pavements - Adele

This month's Digital Kicks wraps up with a couple of legends. Ella Fitzgerald grew up listening to Jazz records by Louis Armstrong. In 1956 the pair teamed up and released an album of standards called, 'Ella And Louis' on the Verve label. Both these tracks are taken from that recording.

15. A Foggy Day - Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong
16. Cheek To Cheek - Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong

Thanks very much to all of you for listening. I would like to leave you with a quote from the great Ella Fitzgerald herself: "It isn't where you came from, it's where you're going that counts."


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Way Of The Dragon

Martial Arts
Bruce Lee was born in San Francisco in 1940 and grew up in Hong Kong. He was introduced to martial arts by his father and began formal training at the age of 13. He excelled in Wing Chung Gung Fu and was eventually trained privately for several years by his master, who greatly influenced him. In addition to studying Gung Fu, he also boxed and became a champion at the age of 18, beating many of the best amateur fighters his age in Hong Kong. Lee's brother, Peter, was a champion fencer and Bruce learned the techniques of the sport from him. This wide range of influences and abilities helped Lee formulate his own style of Kung Fu later in life.

Lee's father forced him to move back to America when he was 19 after getting into a fight and severely injuring his opponent. Upon returning to the States, he moved to Seattle and began teaching martial arts. He modified what he had learned and improvised techniques in an effort to develop his own system with an emphasis on practicality, flexibility, speed and efficiency.

By 1965, he originated Jeet Kune Do whose symbols indicated that 'using no way as the way' and 'having no limitation as a limitation'. He threw out the formalised approaches that he felt held back the traditional styles of martial arts. He adopted and emphasized 'the style of no style'. He lived his life and taught his students how to exist outside of parameters and boundaries.

Lee met and taught several famous people in his studios, including:
Kareem Abdul-Jabar
Steve McQueen
James Coburn
Roman Polanski
Chuck Norris

Physical Abilities
Lee's philosophy and exceptional training program meant that he was able to achieve a phenomenal level of fitness and perform exceptional physical feats, which included:

* Achieving striking speeds of five hundredths of a second from three feet away with his hands down by his side.

* Lifting a dime off a person's open palm and leaving a penny behind before they could close their hand.

* Performing push-ups using only his thumbs.

* Performing up to 50 repetitions of one arm chin-ups.

* Throwing a grain of rice in the air and then catching it in mid-flight with a pair of chop sticks.

* Thrusting his fingers through unopened steel cans of Coca-Cola.

Lee began acting (if you can call it that) at the age of only three months and continued throughout his entire life. He died shortly after filming completed for 'Enter The Dragon'.

Here is a list of his film credits:

1940 - Golden Gate Girl
1946 - The Beginning Of A Boy
1946 - The Birth Of Mankind
1946 - My Son, Ah Cheun
1958 - It's Father's Fault
1958 - The Orphan

1969 - Marlowe
1971 - The Big Boss / Fists Of Fury (US)
1971 - Fists Of Fury / The Chinese Connection (US)
1972 - Way Of The Dragon / Return Of The Dragon (US)
1972 - Game Of Death (completed and released after his death)
1973 - Enter The Dragon

Lee was believed to have more than 2500 books in his personal library and his eclectic philosophy was a result of borrowing something from everything that he read or studied. Ultimately, he believed that any knowledge led to self-knowledge and that each person had a chosen method of self-expression based on their knowledge.

"A fight is not won by one punch or kick. Either learn to endure or hire a bodyguard."

"A glass that is half empty is better than a fully broken glass."

"A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer."

"Balance your thoughts with action. If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you'll never get it done."

"Cease negative mental chattering. If you think a thing is impossible, you will make it impossible. Pessimism blunts the tools you need to succeed."

"Don't fear failure. Not failure but low aim is the crime. In great attempts it is glorious even to fail."

"If you always put a limit on everything you do, it will spread into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus and you must not stay there. You must go beyond them."

"In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity."

"Know the difference between a catastrophe and an inconvenience. To realise that something is just an unpleasantness is part of coming into your own, part of waking up."

"Optimism is a faith that leads to success."

"Simplicity is the key to brilliance."

"Take inventory of everyone with whom you have contact."

"To be perfectly frank, I really do not. I believe in sleeping."
- When asked if he believed in God.

"To me, the function and duty of a quality human is the sincere and honest development of one's potential."

"Use only that which works and take it from any place you can find it."

"We all have time to spend or waste and it is our decision what to do with it. But once passed, it is gone forever."

"We are always in the process of becoming and nothing is fixed."

"What you habitually think largely determines what you will ultimately become."

"Your best move is the one you regret not doing."

Kick or chop here to listen to the Bruce Lee mix.

01. Bruce Lee Speaks (Part 1) :: Bruce Lee
02. The Dragon :: Homeless Balloon
03. Bruce Lee :: Underworld
04. Bruce Lee Speaks (Part 2) :: Bruce Lee
05. Kung Fu Fighting :: Karl Douglas
06. Martial Beat Arts :: The Quiet ft DJ Silent
07. Bruce Lee Speaks (Part 3) :: Bruce Lee
08. China :: Red Rockers
09. Karate Stance :: The Combovers
10. Bruce Lee Speaks (Part 4) :: Bruce Lee

Labels: ,

Monday, August 25, 2008

Digital Kicks 025

25 volumes
21 songs
01 mix

Here we go...

01. Colder Than The Coldest Winter Was Cold - The Dandy Warhols
02. Maybe Lately - Miracle Fortress
03. Ankle Injuries - Fujiya & Miyagi
04. Death To Los Campesinos! - Los Campesinos!
05. I Want To Be In Husker Du - Let's Wrestle
06. Fast Cars - Buzzcocks
07. What'cha Gonna Do About It - Small Faces
08. Sunshine Superman - Donovan
09. Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate The Positive - Bing Crosby & The Andrew Sisters
10. Move It On Over - Hank Williams
11. Ghost Hardware - Burial
12. If You Really Love Me - Stevie Wonder
13. (What A) Wonderful World - Sam Cooke
14. Mighty Power Of Love (Lars Behrnoth Deep Subtle Koffee Mix) - Leee John
15. No Communication, No Love (Devastating) (Original Version) - Charles Schillings
16. Rock - DJ Spinna
17. American Boy - Estelle ft Kanye West
18. Blacker (Album Version) - Ballistic Brothers
19. Hold Me Now - Johnny Logan
20. Song About Traveling - The Innocence Mission
21. Anyone Else But You - The Moldy Peaches

Colder Than The Coldest Winter Was Cold - The Dandy Warhols
CBS News anchor and documentary show host Bill Kurtis narrates this opening track to the Dandys fifth album 'Odditorium Or Warlords Of Mars' and Kub's 25th Digital Kicks.

Maybe Lately - Miracle Fortress
From the Montreal outfit Miracle Fortress comes 'Maybe Lately', a lo-fi song that combines exactly the right amounts of the Beach Boys and Phil Spector without too much of either one.

It's a lovely little slice of Pop music that makes the world seem like a much better place after you hear it.

Sparkly, shimmery, summertime Indie Pop that will make even the most hardened of cynics smile (maybe even tap their feet).

Ankle Injuries - Fujiya & Miyagi
A record player brand name + the guy from 'The Karate Kid' = a couple of guys who like to combine 70s Krautrock and 90s electronic music.

The group apparently met a Sunday league football match, while warming the bench and discussing their mutual admiration for world heavyweight wrestler Kendo Nagasaki.

After spending several years in obscurity, they finally got noticed with the album 'Transparent Things' featuring the song 'Collarbone' and this little gem.

Death To Los Campesinos! - Los Campesinos!
Aleksandra, Ellen, Gareth, Harriet, Neil, Ollie and Tom are Los Campesinos! Roughly translated as The Farmers! or The Peasants! in Spanish.

This track is from their debut album 'Hold On Now Youngster...'. Although it may not be the most cohesive piece of work out there it has a lot of catchy tunes, great musicality and proper from-the-heart type Indie music. They are one to watch. That is to say, listen to.

I Want To Be In Husker Du - Let's Wrestle
Don't we all?

This is the B-Side to this London trio's first single, 'Song For Abba Tribute Record'.

Described as a couple of knock-kneed Indiepop fans with a love of Pop music, who sound like a mixture of Los Campesinos! and Pavement with just the right amount of The Wedding Present thrown in.

If only John Peel were alive today to hear them...

Fast Cars - Buzzcocks
Pete Shelly and Howard Devoto formed The Buzzcocks in Manchester in 1975.
In February 1976, they went to London to see the Sex Pistols.
In July of that year they opened for them at their second gig in Manchester.
At the end of the year they recorded and released 'The Spiral Scratch' EP by themselves, making it the very first independent record released.
Then Howard Devoto left the group. He would go on to form Magazine.

Two years later they released their first LP, 'Another Music In A Different Kitchen', that begins with this track. 'Fast Cars' contains the guitar riff from 'Boredom', one of the tracks that put them on the map and featured on their previous EP.

Their strong craftsmanship of Pop songs combined with their rapid-fire Punk energy made them very popular and a huge influence on nearly every band that formed in the 1980s.

The name of their album was based on a piece of art by performance artist Linder Sterling called, 'Housewives Choosing Their Own Juices In A Different Kitchen'.

And that is the buzz, cocks.

What'cha Gonna Do About It - Small Faces
Small Faces or The Small Faces were from East London and had a huge love of American Rhythm & Blues music. James Brown, Smokey Robinson and Ben E King were just a few of their massive influences.

They are one of the most acclaimed Mod groups and are acknowledged as one of the biggest influences of the Britpop movement in the 1990s.

Things got off to a rough start when the band started playing live. They were kicked out of their first 'away' gig in a working men's club in Sheffield. Feeling rejected, they walked next door to Mod-oriented Mojo Club and played for free. They went down a storm, creating a huge buzz and they soon had a residency in Leicester Square with support from Sonny & Cher.

Their name comes from the fact that all of the band members were around 5'4" and of the girlfriend's remarked that they all had "small faces". The name stuck because the word 'face' is Mod slang for a popular, trend-setting individual.

This track is their first single from their first album, 'Small Faces', released in 1966.

Sunshine Superman - Donovan
Having begun his musical career as an acoustic Folk musician, Donovan was keen to move on by the mid-1960s. He met Mickie Most and John Cameron, adopted the hippie 'flower power' image, immersed himself in Jazz, Blues and Eastern music and discovered Jefferson Airplane and The Grateful Dead.

The result of all this was 'Sunshine Superman' - an eclectic blend of Folk, Rock, Pop and Jazz that was innovative and one of the very first psychedelic Pop records of the 1960s.

It made him a superstar, selling hundreds of thousands of records in both the UK and the US. To this day it remains an essential recording from the short-lived (but much-hyped) psychedelic era in Rock music.

Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate The Positive - Bing Crosby & The Andrew Sisters
Ac-cent-tchu-ating the positive was (in 1944), is (now) and always will be the key to happiness.

Good advice.

Move It On Over - Hank Williams
The hard drinkin', Honky Tonk man sings about sleeping in the doghouse after a night of heavy boozin' in this, his first major Country hit.

Ghost Hardware - Burial
Burial is a Dubstep musician from London. Apparently.

He has released two albums that have received large amounts of critical acclaim. But no one really knows who he is. He has claimed in anonymous interviews that only five people know he makes music.

It was reported in the news earlier this year that his name is William Bevan - the name used for the credits on all of his songs. But it seems that William Bevan is the name of a funeral director in London.

I wonder who this 'mystery' man really is?

If You Really Love Me - Stevie Wonder
'If You Really Love Me' is from Stevie Wonder's 1971 groundbreaking album 'Where I'm Coming From'. It was a very important album for Wonder because it was the first in which he had complete artistic control in the production. It was also the last album in his very first contract with Motown.

Signed as a child prodigy nine years earlier, Barry Gordy had kept very strict control over his company's productions and his artist's careers. But that all changed in the early 1970s. Wonder, along with Marvin Gaye, wanted to expand his music with new styles and techniques. When he turned 21 (in 1971) Wonder was approached by Gordy to renegotiate his contract, but thanks to a clause contained in the document he was able to void the agreement and force Motown to accept whatever he recorded.

The result was 'Where I'm Coming From' and it foreshadowed what was to come in his next four albums, which would be referred to as his "classic period" and make him one of the most successful and critically acclaimed musicians of his time.

(What A) Wonderful World - Sam Cooke
Considered by many to be the 'King of Soul', Sam Cooke recorded and released this song on his first album, 'Sam Cooke' in 1960.

It was one of his amazing 29 Top 40 singles in the US between 1957 and 1965.

In addition to his huge contribution to Soul music, he was also a savvy businessman. He founded a record label and a publishing company as an extension to his 'day' job as a singer and composer.

He was so astute he even added the 'e' to his name because he thought it was classier.

Mighty Power Of Love (Lars Behrenroth Deep Subtle Koffee Mix) - Leee John
1957 - Leee John born in Hackney, London
1970(s) - John works as a back-up singer for The Delfonics, Chairman Of The Board and The Velvettes
1980 - John forms Imagination (the name is a tribute to John Lennon) with Ashley Ingram and Errol Kennedy
1981 - They release the track 'Body Talk', which is a huge club hit, goes to Number 4 in the UK Singles chart and sells 250,000 copies
1983 - John appears on Dr Who1996 - John releases 'Mighty Power Of Love', which becomes an underground club hit
2000 - Ben Watt releases 'Lazy Dog' - a compilation of his favourite tracks from the Lazy Dog club in Notting Hill that features 'Mighty Power Of Love'. Kub buys the compilation and really likes the track.
2004 - 'Mighty Power Of Love' is remixed by Lars Behrenroth and re-released.
2008 - Kub downloads the Behrenroth remix from eMusic and includes it in 'Digital Kicks 025'.

No Communication No Love (Devastating) (Original Mix) - Charles Schillings
This track is lifted from Schilling's excellent 2001 Electro-Acoustic album 'It's About...'

The album reflected his experiences during six years of DJing around the world as well as his varied musical tastes, ranging from House to Techno to Disco to Funk to Groove to Easy Listening and back to House again.

At the time of it's release, Schillings was championing the French Touch scene, producing, recording and DJing all over the world. Basically he was busy being one of the biggest names in Dance music.

I first heard this song on the compilation 'La Mezzanine del Alcazar', where it was featured on the second disc, mixed by Shade. It's a quality piece of chilled House that is equally suitable for dance floors as well as armchairs. Pure grooving.

Rock - DJ Spinna
Born Vincent Williams, Spinna first started experimenting with turntables at the age of eleven.

Since then he has recorded, produced, remixed, collaborated and DJed - all with great success. Despite all of his talent and achievements, he has remained largely underground during his career.

This song displays his love of Soul, Funk and Hip-Hop music blended perfectly to create his own unique sound.

American Boy - Estelle ft Kanye West
Song: American Boy
Writer: Will.I.Am
Singer: Estelle
Guest: Kanye West

Her biggest record to date, 'American Boy' was a hit in 18 different official charts around the world earlier this year. In the UK, it debuted at Number 72 and jumped 71 places to Number 1 the following week.

That sort of success can buy a lot of Ribena and Penguin bars...

Blacker (Album Version) - Ballistic Brothers
Ashley Beedle, Darren House, Darren Rock, David Hill and Uschi Classen are the Ballistic Brothers.

This song mixes pieces of 'Brother' by Gil Scott-Heron and 'Chameleon' by Herbie Hancock to create a chilled, electronic, Downtempo, Trip Hop, Jazz masterpiece.

Hold Me Now - Johnny Logan
Johnny Logan is the most successful artist in the Eurovision Song Contest, having won a total of three times between 1980 and 1992.

'Mister Eurovision' burst on to the scene in 1980 when he took the top prize at Eurovision for the song 'What's Another Year', which was a huge hit all over Europe and went to Number 1 in the UK.

But his massive success was quickly followed by massive failure when his management team made a huge mistake by releasing two follow up singles simultaneously. Since radio stations had no idea which song to play, both of them flopped. Attempted comebacks in 1983 and 1986 also failed to return the singer to his previous triumphs.

In 1987, he entered Eurovision again with this song and he won for the second time! 'Hold Me Now' went on to be a huge hit and million seller. After his second bout of success, he decided to solely concentrate his career in Ireland and Europe.

1992 brought him his third win in Eurovision when he wrote the winning song, 'Why Me', for Linda Martin.

Last year this track featured in a McDonald's Eurosaver Menu ad and introduced a whole new generation to his biggest hit.

Song About Travelling - The Innocence Mission
Husband-and-wife musicians Don and Karen Peris formed The Innocence Mission in the late 1980s in Lancaster, Pennsylvania after meeting at a Catholic secondary school during a production of 'Godspell'.

Coincidentally, Lancaster is my home town and the secondary school where they met is Lancaster Catholic High School, which is also my Alma Mater.

They began recording in their make-shift studio in their basement but quickly progressed and by their third album, 'Glow' (one of my personal all-time favourites), they were selling records and being featured on numerous soundtracks.

This tune comes from their seventh album, 'Small Planes', which was recorded during 'Glow' but not released until 2001.

Anyone Else But You - The Moldy Peaches
The band from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, who began recording in 1999 and then went on hiatus in 2004. Possibly because they released the album 'The Moldy Peaches' on September 11 2001 that contained a song called 'NYC Is Like A Graveyard'. Or possibly because the guitarist, Aaron Wilkinson, left the band and subsequently died in 2003 from a heroin overdose.

Regardless of the reason for the break, this song brought them back from wherever they were when it appeared in the film 'Juno' last year and was released as a single on Rough Trade records.


Friday, August 01, 2008

MTV - Day One

Date: 01 August 1981
Time: 00:01 EST
Place: New York City, NY
Purpose: To play music videos (no, really it was).
Slogan: "I want my MTV!"
VJs: Nina Blackwood, Mark Goodman, Alan Hunter, JJ Jackson and Martha Quinn

With the words, "Ladies and gentlemen, rock and roll", a crunchy guitar riff and footage of the Apollo 11 moon landing (with the US flag replaced by an MTV flag, of course), MTV was born.

Even though only a few thousand people from a single cable channel system in New Jersey saw the initial transmissions, a revolution was started.

The format when MTV began was modeled after a Top 40 radio station. But instead of DJs (disc jockeys), MTV had VJs (video jockeys). The original five eventually became superstar celebrities and were, collectively, the face of the station.

Most of the early videos were very crude and usually consisted of either promotional footage or concert footage of the band. But that didn't matter. Now you could SEE the music as well as HEAR the music.

Rock, Alternative and New Wave were the flavour of the day. A lot of the bands that made this kind of music and, indeed, some of the biggest bands of the 1980s can attribute their success directly to the amount of airplay they received on MTV in the early part of the decade. But when the president of CBS Records complained about the lack of black artists being played, especially his heavy hitter Michael Jackson, things began to change.

'Billie Jean' was the first video by a black artist to be shown and by the end of 1983, when the 14 minute epic 'Thriller' was released the entire format was changed from Rock to Pop and R&B.

For the next five years MTV ruled the airwaves. Everyone had it. Everyone wanted more. And everyone talked about the bands being played. It was a great time to be a kid in the 'know' and a music fan.

In 1984 the MTV Video Music Awards started. 1986 saw the introduction of the Alternative show '120 Minutes'. 'Headbangers Ball' started in 1987 and 'Yo! MTV Raps' in 1988.

The early 1990s saw the beginning of other shows such as, 'MTV News', 'Club MTV', 'Remote Control', 'MTV Unplugged' and 'Liquid Television'.

Unfortunately, all of these conventional shows, as good as they were, began to take away from the time that videos could be shown. And the demise of the station began.

By the mid-1990s nearly all of the programming was non-music or reality based. MTV still carries on today but now they have had to start several other channels (MTV2, MTV Tr3s, MTV Hits, MTV Jams and mtvU) in order to show any music at all.

But fear not! I am going to take you all the way back to the beginning. This mix includes some of the songs that were played on MTV on 01 August 1981. I must admit a few tears were shed in compiling and mixing this set and lots of memories came flooding back. I hope that you enjoy listening to it as much as I did creating it.

Shout at the top of your lungs 'I want my MTV!' to hear the mix.
Click on each of the track names to see the video.

01. Video Killed The Radio Star - The Buggles
02. You Better Run - Pat Benatar
03. You Better You Bet - The Who
04. We Don't Talk Anymore - Cliff Richard
05. Brass In Pocket - The Pretenders
06. Take It On The Run - REO Speedwagon
07. Just Between You & Me - April Wine
08. In The Air Tonight - Phil Collins
09. I Wanna Be A Lifeguard - Blotto
10. Oliver's Army - Elvis Costello
11. Tusk - Fleetwood Mac
12. Rapture - Blondie
13. Ashes To Ashes - David Bowie
14. Once In A Lifetime - Talking Heads
15. Cruel To Be Kind - Nick Lowe
16. Kiss On My List - Hall & Oates
17. Da Ya Think I'm Sexy - Rod Stewart
18. While You See A Chance - Steve Winwood

Video Killed The Radio Star
This was the beginning. Ground zero. The video that started it all. At 00:01 on 01 August 1981, MTV aired this video and ushered in a new era in music. Ironically, it was also the one millionth video that MTV played nearly twenty years later on 27 February 2000.

The tune was originally released on the LP 'The Age Of Plastic' in September 1979 and it became the first Number 1 song for the Island label in the UK.

The band featured Trevor Horn, who had previously been in Yes and would go on to be a highly respected producer, working with numerous Dance acts in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

You Better Run - Pat Benatar
This was the second video that MTV ever played and it highlights their early fondness for Rock music.

The song is from Benatar's second album titled 'Crimes Of Passion', which featured her biggest single, 'Hit Me With Your Best Shot'. The album spent more than 90 weeks in the Billboard Album charts, including a month at Number 2, and earned her a Grammy for 'Best Female Rock Vocal Performance'.

You Better You Bet
This song is from 'Face Dances' and was the Who's last crack into the Billboard Top 20 singles.

The video was shot in black and white for 'artistic' reasons and featured the band performing on stage.

We Don't Talk Anymore - Cliff Richard
This song marked a big comeback for Cliff Richard and was his biggest selling single worldwide. The single was released just before his 40th birthday and before the announcement that he was to receive the OBE for services to music.

It was Number 1 for four weeks in the UK in August of 1979, Number 1 in Germany for five weeks and peaked at Number 7 in the Billboard Singles chart in America.

Brass In Pocket - The Pretenders
This was the breakthrough hit for Chrissie Hynde and the Pretenders, even though Hynde didn't like the song after it was recorded and didn't want to release it.

The title was lifted from an expression that Hynde overheard someone from a support band say one day when he was trying to find his money.

The video was cheesy enough and featured Hynde as a waitress serving 'specials' to three gentlemen (the rest of the band) in a cafe.

Take It On The Run - REO Speedwagon
The band who took their name from a flatbed truck, used the initials (REO) of the founder of Oldsmobile and are renowned for their 'power' ballads also got a shout out on the first day that MTV hit the airwaves.

'Take It On The Run' was from the album 'Hi Infidelity' that spent three months at Number 1 in 1980 and 1981.

Just Between You And Me - April Wine
This tune was played on MTV's first day of broadcasting and owns the distinction of being the first video by a Canadian band to be played. It was also the first video that the station repeated (most likely when they ran out of videos to show).

In The Air Tonight - Phil Collins
Released in January of 1981, 'In The Air Tonight' was Phil Collins' first solo single. It was atmospheric. It was menacing. And it was big.

The song was an instant hit. It has been used in numerous advertisements through the years as well as featuring in the pilot episode of 'Miami Vice'.

I Wanna Be A Lifeguard - Blotto
These guys were quirky. Really quirky. They were:
Broadway Blotto
Sergeant Blotto
Bowtie Blotto
Cheese BlottoLee Harvey Blotto

There was also (at different times throughout the years)
Bert Blotto
Johnny Blotto
Bluto Blotto
Scott Blott (the only one without an 'o')
Chevrolet Blotto
Blanche Blotto
Clyde Blotto
Hammerhead Blotto
Ink Blotto
Juan Pablo Blotto

They formed in Albany, New York and always did their best to combine music and humor. Not always in equal parts though.

The band rose from the ashes of what was the Star Spangled Washboard Band, a post-hippie, comedy jug band.

They were New Wave. They played and released comical songs. They made a video for this track and MTV loved it, putting into heavy rotation for months after bringing music to the world of television.

Despite some exposure and recognition from the song on MTV, they broke up in 1984 and, thankfully, only ever recorded enough music to fill one CD. It's called 'Collected Works'.

Oliver's Army - Elvis Costello
The song that almost got away.

During the recording of 'Armed Forces', this song almost got dropped from the album but was rescued after the keyboardist wrote the piano part, which he based loosely on 'Dancing Queen' by Abba.

Good thing too. The song went all the way to Number 2 in the UK charts.

Tusk - Fleetwood Mac
This album, 'Tusk', was the quirky follow-up to the massive LP 'Rumors'. Guitarist Lindsey Buckingham had discovered 'New Wave' music and he convinced the band to be a bit more experimental with their music. He was also allowed to use more creativity in his writing, which resulted in the twenty song double album.

But the critics didn't like it and neither did the fans. Where 'Rumours' had managed to sell over 30 million albums worldwide, 'Tusk' could only manage four million. The label saw it as a failure and blamed Buckingham. The band, however, blamed a major radio station for playing the album in it's entirety prior to the release and allowing people to copy it. Indeed, home taping was killing music.

Rapture - Blondie
'Rapture' was a New Wave pop song that featured a Rap section released by Blondie at the beginning of 1981.

It was the third song to feature Rap and place in the charts but it was the first to go all the way to Number 1. Previously, 'Rapper's Delight' by The Sugarhill Gang and 'The Breaks' by Kurtis Blow were the first Rap songs to have some commercial success.

After this single, Blondie took a break but the record made strong headway into the world of Hip Hop. Grand Master Flash used pieces of it in his classic single 'The Adventures Of Grandmaster Flash On The Wheels Of Steel' and it has been sampled or used as the basis for several other tracks.

Ashes To Ahes - David Bowie
'Ashes To Ashes' was a song about space men becoming junkies written in the style of a nursery rhyme. Due to the lyrical content, it is believed to reference Bowie's previous work including, 'Space Oddity' and the album 'Low'. In his own words, the song "wrapped up the seventies really well."

The video was one of the most expensive at the time, costing over 250,00 pounds to make. It featured solarised shots, black-and-white shots and Bowie in a Pierrot costume, which made the clip one of the most iconic of the early 1980s.

Once In A Lifetime
This track was released in October 1980 on the album 'Remain In Light'. It was written by David Byrne and Brian Eno after they heard a preacher speaking on the radio while driving through New York. It's a song believed to be about a middle age crisis and the inevitable sacrifice of youthful ideals and dreams for more conventional success.

The video features Byrne dancing and moving like a marionette, flinging his arms and tapping his head. It was choreographed by Toni Basil (of the hit song 'Mickey' fame) and inspired by footage of people suffering from epilepsy.

The video is another that was on heavy rotation for many months on MTV and was also on exhibition in the New York Museum of Modern Art for a period of time.

Cruel To Be Kind - Nick Lowe
Nick Lowe doesn't mind change.

He was once referred to as 'Basher' because of his rough and ready aesthetic and approach to production.

He began his recording career in the mid 1960s playing Country and Blues Rock. Then he switched to ironic Pop and animated Rock in the mid 1970s.

This track was released in 1979 - the same year that he married Carlene Carter (daughter of June Carter Cash and stepdaughter of Johnny Cash). It was part of another transition into more mainstream Pop music.

Then he became a millionaire in the 1990s. '(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding' was covered on the soundtrack to 'The Bodyguard'. The album sold 15 million copies and since Lowe wrote that song, he received a lot of money in royalties.

In his own words, Lowe said that his greatest fear was, "sticking with what you did when you were famous". In an effort to avoid that, he continues recording today and still incorporates different kinds of music into his sound.

Kiss On My List - Hall & Oates
Daryl Hall and John Oates began their recording career in 1972 with the album 'Whole Oats'. It flopped. So did their second and third albums. The problem was they couldn't settle on a particular style or sound and jumped from Folk to Soul to Rock to Pop and back again.

However, the song 'She's Gone' did appear on their second album and, despite any real sales, received a lot of airplay on the radio.

Their fourth, self-titled album contained 'Sara Smile' and that was a Top Ten hit for them. Things began to change and they had more hits in the following two years.

Then, in 1978 they hit a wall. They struggled for two years with producers and musicians who didn't understand their musical tastes and visions. So, they ditched LA, moved to New York, started producing their own records and recorded the album 'Voices' in Electric Lady Studios. It was a massive hit.

'Kiss On My List' went all the way to Number 1 in April of 1981 and they never looked back from there. By 1984, the Recording Industry Association Of America declared them as "the most successful duo in the history of recorded music".

Da Ya Think I'm Sexy - Rod Stewart
In the late 1970s, everyone jumped on the Disco bandwagon. Even Rod Stewart. But not without controversy.

His Disco song 'Da Ya Think I'm Sexy' angered Brazilian musician Jorge Ben because he claimed that it was derived from his song 'Taj Mahal'. He filed a lawsuit and Stewart agreed to donate all the royalties from the song to the United Nations Children's Fund.

Stewart was also slated by the Rock press for 'selling out' and betraying his Blues-oriented Rock roots. But the song was a huge hit. It spent one week at Number 1 in the UK and four weeks at the top spot in the Billboard charts in America. And MTV played the video more than most others in the early days.

While You See A Chance - Steve Winwood
The 1980 album 'Arc Of A Diver' produced this breakthrough hit song for Steve Winwood and made him a successful, viable solo artist.

It was another heavily played video that reflected MTV's early affinity to Rock and Pop music.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Digital Kicks 024

01. Beautiful Summer Day - Mother
02. 54B - Mudd
03. Back In The Days - The Defloristics
04. Midnight Surprise (Radio Edit) - Lightspeed Champion
05. Down But Not Yet Out - Felt
06. This Charming Man (New York Vocal Version) - The Smiths
07. Hands In The Dark - The Chromatics
08. Rolling Down The Hills - Glass Candy
09. Where Are You - BRS
10. Food Stamps - Leaf
11. Boxe Et Violence - Daniel J White
12 Swan - Tomboy
13. Brain Leech - Alex Gopher
14. Why Don't You Take Us - Sky King
15. Don't Take Your Love - The New Sounds
16. Around And Around - Chuck Berry
17. I'll Never Get Out Of This World Alive - Hank Williams
18. I Get A Kick Out Of You - Frank Sinatra

Set the controls for here to listen to this mix.

Beautiful Summer Day - Mother
This space has intentionally left blank.

54B - Mudd
Recorded by Paul Murphy (AKA Mudd), released by Rong Music, compiled by Tom Middleton and featured on Renaissance 3D, this tune is a cracker.

A perfect example of 'chilled out' music that doesn't make you want to go to sleep and proof that Mr Middleton is a master at finding and presenting some of the best music around.

Back In The Days - The Defloristics
The Defloristics are Robert Hardt and Harry Zier. They began their careers working with artists like Chaka Khan and Keith Sweat. But now they deliver chilled, polished, electronic Jazzy breaks infused perfectly with Deep House.

This song (and the accompanying album) is an example of music that does not disappoint but that you are unlikely to come across without a recommendation. Well, now it has been recommended. Essential late-night listening.

Midnight Surprise (Radio Edit) - Lightspeed Champion
Devonte Hynes used to be in a band called Test Icicle. But then he changed directions entirely.

In early 2007, he went to Omaha, Nebraska to record his solo debut album with one of the members of Bright Eyes. He stayed for a few months and hung out in a guest house. Lots of musicians came by and they all ended up playing on the resutling album, 'Falling Off The Lavender Bridge'.

According to Hynes, the album consists of two halves, mixing both dreams and life experiences. This Radio Edit of 'Midnight Surprise' is a shortened version of the ten minute track that features on the album.

Down But Not Yet Out - Felt
Ten singles. Ten albums. Ten years.

This is the history of the band Felt. They were from Birmingham, recorded for the labels Cherry Red & Creation and influenced numerous bands, including Belle & Sebastian.

Their sound, defined by an atmospheric, delicate guitar playing, is a perfect example of the Indie scene captured by NME on the C-86 compilation.

This Charming Man (New York Vocal Version) - The Smiths
Arguably, 'This Charming Man' is the best and most popular Indie tune of all time.

This version is from the original vinyl release and is a stretched-out, slightly altered remix by the House legend Francois K. Thankfully, he gets it just right and manages to remix the song without losing the plot.

Very good and very obscure.

Hands In The Dark - The Chromatics / Rolling Down The Hills - Glass Candy
Two songs. One compilation. 'After Dark' highlights artists who have embraced Italo-Disco, Giorgio Moroder-style, synthesizer music following the Dance-Punk and Electroclash trends.

Creating real atmosphere without the cheesy Eurodisco element, these are two of the stronger tracks from the collection.

Where Are You - BRS
This BRS does not stand for Bristow Group, Ballistic Recovery Systems, British Racing School, Brotherhood Of Railroad Signalmen or the Bureau Of Rural Sciences.

This BRS stands for British Rhythm Services, who formed in 1998. They are DJ Ben Vacara, Rob Evans and Mr Mulatto. They make Downtempo, Deep House like this song that is from the album 'Gravity', released in 2002.

Food Stamps - Leaf
Using the leaf as a stamp, press it down carefully onto the white paper. Hold it in place and gently rub the construction paper so that all areas hit the white paper.

Carefully remove the stamp and repeat this process with your other leaves and colors.

Allow to dry completely.

Boxe Et Violence - Daniel J White
Thanks to Mr Thing this little underground break has been restored from obscurity on 'Strange Breaks & Mr Thing'. It is 116 seconds of pure groovy jazziness.

Swan - Tomboy
Tomboy is Danish producer Tomas Barfod. He makes seriously funky little biscuits like this one. When he's not busy producing, he plays drums for WhoMadeWho.

Brain Leech - Alex Gopher
Alex Gopher entered the music scene in a pop band known as Orange. He played alongside Etienne De Crecy, Nicolas Godin and Jean-Benoit Dunckel. When they broke up, they all sold their guitars to buy turntables. De Crecy and Gopher released the infamous French Touch compilation 'Super Discount', while Godin and Dunckel formed Air.

After enormous amounts of success with 'You My Baby And I' and 'Wuz', it seems that Gopher decided to sell his turntable to buy a guitar. The result is this song, which appears on his 2006 self-titled album.

Why Don't You Take Us - Sky King
Another little beauty uncovered by Mr Thing and included on his strange breaks compilation.

Don't Take Your Love - The New Sounds
Wigan. Empress Ballroom. Mike Walker. 1973-1981. Northern Soul. Queues around the corner. All nighters. '3 before 8'. Drugs. Downfall. Thousands of compilation CDs.

Around And Around - Chuck Berry
This tune was originally released as the B-Side to Johnny B Goode in 1958, which was an autobiographical tale of a coloured boy, who could "play a guitar just like ringing a bell".

Rolling Stone magazine ranked 'Johnny B Goode' as the 7th Greatest Song of All Time and it was chosen as an achievement of humanity for the collection of artifacts placed in the Voyager space craft.

On the flip side, 'Around And Around' describes how "the joint was rockin" and has been covered by David Bowie, The Rolling Stones and The Greatful Dead among other artists.

I'll Never Get Out Of This World Alive - Hank Williams
Indeed he didn't.

This was the last single to be released during his lifetime and it reached Number 1 in the Country Singles chart posthumously in January of 1953, after his mysterious death.

I Get A Kick Out Of You - Frank Sinatra
'I Get A Kick Out Of You' was originally written by Cole Porter in 1934.

This was the first version that Sinatra recorded in 1953 just before his Oscar-winning role in 'From Here To Eternity'. After this his career would take off and his life would never be the same again.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

Yo! Kub Raps

Memba them good ol' Yo! raps...

01. Weak Become Heroes $ The Streets
02. Still A G Thang $ Snoop Dogg
03. My Name Is (Explicit Version) $ Eminem
04. Can It All Be So Simple $ Wu-Tang Clan
05. 21 Questions $ 50 Cent
06. Accordion (Fourtet Mix) $ Madvillain
07. It Was A Good Day $ Ice Cube
08. That's The Joint $ Funky 4 + 1
09. Straight Out Of The Jungle $ Jungle Brothers
10. Montego Slay $ People Under The Stairs
11. Life's A B***** $ Nas
12. Coming Of Age $ Jay-Z
13. Hate It Or Love It $ The Game ft 50 Cent
14. Pop Shots $ Ol' Dirty Bastard
15. Hypnotize $ Notorious BIG
16. Pop Goes The Weasel $ 3rd Bass
17. Fight The Power $ Public Enemy
18. Touch The Sky $ Kanye West
19. Baby Got Back $ Sir Mix-A-Lot
20. More Bounce To The Ounce $ Zapp
21. Small Talk At 125th & Lenox $ Gil Scott-Heron

Weak Become Heroes $ The Streets
This track is from the 2002 album 'Original Pirate Material' and is sung / rapped by a twenty-something white kid named Mike Skinner from Birmingham who sings / raps with a 'mockney' accent.

The album blends Electronica, UK Garage and Hip Hop with Skinner's take on what-was-then modern day living and clubbing. Even the Rock and Indie peeps liked it.

Even though it really should not work, it does. Who says white men can't rap?

Still A G Thang $ Snoop Dogg
Some things you may not have known about Snoop:

* Snoop was nicknamed Snoopy by his mother.
* He was born in Long Beach, CA.
* He was playing the piano at the age of five.
* He began rapping when he was in the sixth grade.
* He was a member of the Crips.
* His cousin is Nate Dogg and his best friend is Warren G.
* He was discovered by Dr Dre when he heard a mixtape with En Vogue's 'Hold On' that was rapped over by Snoop.
* He was taught how to structure lyrics and separate his songs into verses, hooks and choruses by The DOC from NWA.
* 'Snoop Speak' was based on words in the song 'Double Dutch Bus' by Frankie Smith.

Izzle kizzle, fo' schizzle. My nizzle, what you sizzle?

Fo' schizzle bizzle, my nizzle...

My Name Is (Explicit Version) $ Eminem
Dr Dre produced this song and the album 'The Slim Shady LP' in 1999. He wanted to use the Labi Siffre song 'I Got The...' as the basis for the rhythm of 'My Name Is' but Siffre refused when he heard the lyrical content.

He felt that Eminem was taking the easy way out and attacking the usual scapegoats in his rhymes. Eminem took the criticism on board and rewrote the lyrics. Siffre cleared the sample.

A 'clean' version was released as a single and on subsequent compilations and this explicit version was the one contained on the album. It was Eminem's first major success and helped him establish his unique style.

Can It All Be So Simple $ Wu Tang Clan
Witty Unpredictable Talent And Natural Game...

This is the third single lifted from 'Enter The Wu-Tang Clan (36 Chambers)' and is considered a classic by most fans of the group.

It features Raekwon and Ghostface discussing the hardships of growing up in New York in the 1980s and rapping over a sample of 'The Way We Were' by Gladys Knight & The Pips.

21 Questions $ 50 Cent
Even the toughest of rappers have a soft side. It seems.

Here is an apparent conversation that took place between Fiddy and Dre in the studio during the recording of 'Get Rich Or Die Tryin':

Dre: "How you gonna be gangsta this and that and then put this sappy love song on?"
Fiddy: "I'm two people. I've always had to be two people since I was a kid to get by. To me that's not diversity, that's necessity."

I'm sure both Fiddys were delighted with this song. It was Number 1 in nearly every Singles chart in America and placed in Singles charts in sixteen other countries.

Accordion (Fourtet Mix) $ Madvillain
MF Doom and Madlib are Madvillain and they take a very unique approach to Hip Hop. They write short songs with obscure lyrics that contain few choruses and are generally 'unfriendly' to radio stations.

Foutret got their hands on this track and made it slightly more melodic. All the other awkwardness remains.

It Was A Good Day $ Ice Cube
Ice Cube was born O'Shea Jackson and began his career as a founding member of NWA, one of the groups that helped originate Gangsta Rap.

In 1992 he converted to Islam and slowly began to drift away from hardcore Rap and focused more on acting.

That same year he released 'The Predator', which contained this song. The album was recorded during the height of the LA riots and went straight to Number 1 in both the Pop and R&B Album charts. It was the first album to ever reach the top spot in both charts.

The track contains a sample of 'Footsteps In The Dark' by the Isley Brothers and was written as a reflection on the good times that he had during his rise to fame and wealth.

Despite being his biggest, most successful song, he lost a lot of credibility and his audience began to diminish after this song and album.

That's The Joint $ Funky 4 + 1
They formed in 1979 and were the first Hip Hop / Rap group from The Bronx, New York.

They featured a female MC, Sha Rock.

After the success of 'Rappin' And Rockin' The House', when most of the group were only 17, they released this track on Sugarhill Records in 1980.

They were also the first Hip Hop group to appear on national television when they were guests on 'Saturday Night Live' in 1981.

Unfortunately, differences with the record label led them to split and quickly disappear into obscurity.

Sugarhill Gang may have followed and been bigger and better. But these guys were first. And first is forever.

Straight Out Of The Jungle $ Jungle Brothers
The Jungle Brothers were first off the mark with a couple of things.

They pioneered the fusion of Jazz and Hip Hop that later went on to form the basis of Drum 'n' Bass.

They were also the first Hip Hop artists to use a House music producer (Todd Terry) on their debut album 'Straight Out Of The Jungle'.Their first few albums received critical acclaim but didn't sell very many copies and were largely ignored by Hip Hop audiences. However, without them and their music, one could argue there would be no De La Soul or A Tribe Called

Montego Slay $ People Under The Stairs
Thes One met Double K in Los Angeles, they formed People Under The Stairs (or PUTS) and quickly started recording their first album, 'The Next Step'.

They recorded it themselves and had to sell it on the street from backpacks until it was eventually released in 1998.

The head of OM Records, Chris Smith, heard it, gave them a deal and two years later they released 'Question In The Form Of An Answer'.

The second album received a warm welcome and they began touring more intensely. Two years later they released OST, which provided twenty little gems, including this track.

Thes One described it as, "An album made up of old records and personal experiences. No more, no less." Check it.

Life's A B***** $ Nas
This tune is lifted from his first album, 'Illmatic', which features Pete Rock, Q-Tip and DJ Premier (among others).

On this laid-back, jazzy track, AZ raps with Nas and his father, Olu Dara, plays the cornet. It samples 'Yearning For Your Love' by The Gap Band and 'Black Frost' by Grover Washington Jr.

Seven years after it's release, the album was certified platinum and was still selling over three thousand copies a week.

Coming Of Age $ Jay-Z
'Reasonable Doubt' is Jay-Z's (Sean Carter's) debut album and is considered, by some, to be his crowning achievement.

It has been classified as 'Mafioso Rap' because of the strong references to crime throughout all of the songs.

Production was handled by DJ Premier, Clark Kent and Ski. Kent worked on this track that contains a sample of 'Inside You' by Eddie Henderson.

'Coming Of Age', like all the tracks on the album, feature what have been called Carter's "effortless, unaffected cool, disarming honesty and acrobatic rhymes."

Pop Shots $ Ol' Dirty Bastard
Enough Said.

Hypnotize $ Notorious BIG
'Hypnotize' was released in April of 1997, after Biggie Smalls had been killed. The song had been a huge hit on the radio and when the single was finally released, it went straight to Number 2 in the charts. A week later, it was Number 1.

Biggie became the fifth artist to have a Number 1 single in the charts posthumously. The track was also nominated for Best Rap Solo Performance at the 1988 Grammy Awards.

Pop Goes The Weasel $ 3rd Bass
This track was released in 1991, brought on by the success of white artists bringing Rap into the mainstream.

Ironically, the success of the song was due to the criticism of such white artists, in particular Vanilla Ice. The track attacks the artists for being culture thieves and watering down the sound of rap in order to make it more accessible to the mainstream audience.

'Pop Goes The Weasel' features elements of a JB's song and a Stevie Wonder song as well as sampling 'Eminience Front' by the Who and 'Sledgehammer' by Peter Gabriel.

Fight The Power $ Public Enemy
Chuck D. Flava Flav. PE.

This track is considered by most to be PE's defining song. Their anthem. It is also one of the most popular and influential Hip Hop songs of all time. It's from the album 'Fear Of A Black Planet' and features in Spike Lee's joint 'Do The Right Thing'.

The classic lines from the song are:

Elvis was a hero to most But he never meant sh*t to me
You see, straight-up racist that sucker was simple and plain
Mother**** him and John Wayne

Yo! Bum Rush The Show.

Touch The Sky $ Kanye West
When you cross the sharpest dressed man in Hip Hop with the flyest brother in Soul, how could you NOT have a massive hit and sell millions of records?

From West's second album, 'Late Registration', that Rolling Stone called, "an undeniable triumph" and Spin magazine described as, "ornate and bloated just like West's ego", comes 'Touch The Sky'.

The song samples 'Superfly' by Curtis Mayfield and features Lupe Fiasco. The video is a short movie about Evel Kanyevel and his attempt to fly a small rocket across the Snake River Canyon.
Not bad for someone who dropped out of Chicago State University.

Baby Got Back $ Sir Mix-A-Lot
The original Bumpasauraus who hails from Seattle, Washington and introduced the world of Hip Hop to deep bass.

This track was his biggest. It won him fame and a Grammy Award for Best Rap Solo Performance in 1993. However, following this success he struggled to try and repeat it. Eventually, he fell out with his record label and disappeared for several years.

During the break, he apparently collaborated with The Presidents Of The United States but nothing was ever released.

Recently, he has been featuring as a guest on tracks for several artists, including Nas in 2007 with 'Where Are They Now'.

More Bounce To The Ounce $ Zapp
Zapp were five brothers who formed a Soul and Funk band in 1978. This track highlights their style, hand-clapping drum beats and the use of a talk box.

The band only had a couple of hits but have influenced numerous artists in West Coast Hip Hop and G-Funk (Gangsta Funk).

Small Talk At 125th & Lenox $ Gil Scott-Heron
The Black Arrow is back on with another insightful, articulate, no-nonsense poem that spoke to the political consciousness of those in the know in the early 1970s.

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