Toni Braxton – The Heat (2000)

frontcover1The Heat is the third studio album by American recording artist Toni Braxton. Released in the United States on April 25, 2000 by LaFace Records, the album marked Braxton’s departure from her ballads in favor of a more urban sound. Most of the songs (including the nearly instrumental “The Art of Love”) were written and produced by Braxton and her husband Keri Lewis (a former member of Mint Condition), two ballads were penned by Diane Warren, and collaborations featured rappers Dr. Dre and Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes.

The Heat opened at number two on the Billboard 200 chart selling 194,448 units in its first week. It was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on October 13, 2000, with sales of over 2.2 million copies within the U.S. Additionally, the album was nominated for Best R&B Album at the 2001 Grammy Awards, while lead single “He Wasn’t Man Enough” won for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance and was nominated for Best R&B Song.
After the success of her sophomore studio album, Secrets (1996), which spawned Braxton’s signature song and biggest hit of her career, “Un-Break My Heart”, and sold over 15 million copies worldwide, Braxton filed a suit to be released from her contract with Arista and LaFace records in Los Angeles Superior Court, citing a law that states employers may not enforce labor or service after seven years. After a year of legal issues, Braxton settled her lawsuit with LaFace Records, with plans to release a new album in May 1999.
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In February 1999, Babyface told MTV News that, “We’re getting ready head back in the studio with Toni and we’ve got everything worked out, and we’re really excited about getting back into the studio, getting back to the music.” However, only in January 2000, during an interview with CNN.com, Toni revealed that the album was going to be released in March 2000, while stating, “Some of the producers on the album are, of course Babyface, R. Kelly, David Foster, Keith Crouch and Keri Lewis of Mint Condition, just to name a few,” while also revealing collaborations with Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes from TLC and Dr. Dre.
“The Heat” is built on solid ballads and smoldering, mid-tempo dance numbers, as noted by Allmusic’s Stephen Thomas Erlewine. Colin Ross of PopMatters noted that, “By taking a more active role in the writing and production of the set, Toni’s material begins to be constructed around her voice rather than the latest producer’s sound.”
The album’s first single and opening track, “He Wasn’t Man Enough”, was written and produced by Rodney Jerkins. The R&B song, with synth-funk bassline and Jerkins’ taut beats and harp,[8] has Toni warning a female friend not to marry a man the singer knows all too well[9] and that came back begging for forgiveness. On the title track, “The Heat”, co-written by Keri Lewis, was described as “an infectious mid-tempo groove.” Lyrically, the song talks about wanting to “get it on” and enjoying coed skinny-dipping.[10] Third track, “Spanish Guitar” ,was written by Diane Warren (who wrote “Un-Break My Heart”) and was considered a “latin ballad”, inspired by “Un-Break My Heart”. Lyrically, the song has the singer inviting an alluring stranger to play her “through the night” like a “Spanish Guitar.”
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The fourth track “Just Be a Man About It” is a telephone breakup song, with Toni once again questioning the status of a partner’s manhood and Dr. Dre playing the wayward lover breaking the news to her, while fifth track, “Gimme Some”, features Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes and was named “an R&B/summer ‘jerky funker’ track”, with Braxton demanding intercourse and oral sex from a man.
“I’m Still Breathing” is another song written by Diane Warren and talks about a woman stung by a painful breakup who summons strength, while “Fairy Tale”, co-written and produced by Babyface, is an “acoustic piece” where the singer implies that being “just friends” may be healthier than a “love affair.” Pillow talk and ecstatic moaning characterize “The Art of Love,” a track that features no discernible lyrics, Braxton’s sighs and moans over undulating rhythms”. On “Speaking in Tongues,” a “sensual affair” with stickerwarm harmonies, spiritual expressions are co-opted and woven amid passionate propositions including, “Talk dirty to me.” The tenth track “Maybe” has rapid-fire lyrics, informed by hip-hop vocal rhythms and lyrically discuss the singer debating —in rapturous detail— whether or not to have drinks and sex again with her boyfriend (“Should I give him some/Will he make me hot/Will he hit the spot I love a lot”, she sings). The eleventh track “You’ve Been Wrong” was considered “plodding”, while the twelfth and final track, “Never Just For a Ring”, finds Braxton questioning her lovers lack of fidelity the song features the embittered choral hook “Why?, when?, where?, how?, who?, what?”, made you go off and do this crazy thing. (by Wikipedia)
Toni Braxton went through a lot in the years separating her star-making Toni Braxton and her 2000 comeback The Heat. Yes, she became a star, but she also went through a painful bankruptcy that delayed her sequel for years. Fortunately, you wouldn’t be able to tell that there was so much behind-the-scenes drama from The Heat — it’s a confident, assured, sexy effort that reaffirms Braxton’s status as one of the finest contemporary mainstream soul singers. She may not be as street-smart as Mary J. Blige, nor does she push the boundaries of the genre the way TLC does, but she has a full, rich voice that instantly lends her songs a sense of maturity and sensuality, especially since she never, ever oversings or misjudges her material. And, while that material can occasionally be a little generic, much of The Heat is built on solid ballads and smoldering, mid-tempo dance numbers. Producers as diverse as Babyface, Rodney Jerkins, Daryl Simmons, Teddy Bishop, and David Foster are responsible for various tracks on the album, which is typical for a big-budget, superstar release like this, but rarely are the tracks quite as consistent and cohesive as they are here.
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The skittering beats of “He Wasn’t Man Enough” and “Gimme Some” are every bit as effective as the simmering title track or ballads “I’m Still Breathing” and “Spanish Guitar” — or “Just Be a Man About It,” an instant classic telephone breakup song, with Dr. Dre playing the wayward lover breaking the news to Ms. Braxton. True, The Heat slightly runs out of momentum toward the end, but there aren’t many dull spots on the record — it’s all stylish, sultry, seductive, appealing urban contemporary soul that confirms Braxton’s prodigious talents. (by Stephen Thomas Erlewine)
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Personnel:
Teddy Bishop (keyboards, programming)
Toni Braxton (vocals, keyboards)
Dorian “Soul Dog” Daniels (keyboards, bass)
Nathan East (bass)
Ray Edwards (keyboards)
Greg Phillinganes (piano)
John Smith (guitar)
Scott Storch (keyboards, programming)
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Dr. Dre (additional vocals)
Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes (rap)
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Background vocals:
Trina Braxton – Deborah Killings

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Tracklist:
01. He Wasn’t Man Enough  (R.Jerkins/F.Jerkins III/Daniels/Mason, Jr) 4.21
02. The Heat (Lewis/Braxton) 3.30
03. Spanish Guitar (Warren/Foster) 4.47
04. Just Be A Man About It  (Braxton/Austin/Bishop/Cox) 4.50
05. Gimme Some (featuring Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes) (Alexander/Braxton/Babyface/Lopes/Pha  4.03
06. I’m Still Breathing  (Warren/Foster 4.15
07. Fairy Tale”  Marc Harris, Tommy Sims, Babyface  Babyface  4:22
08. The Art Of Love  Toni Braxton, Keri Lewis  Braxton, Lewis  3:47
09. Speaking In Tongues (Braxton/Lewis) 3.46
10. Maybe (Braxton/Crouch/Gause/Jamison/Smith) 3.08
11. You’ve Been Wrong  (Braxton/Brian Casey/Brandon Casey/Bishop/Hicks/Bell/Creed) 3.45
12. Never Just For A Ring (Simmons/Braxton/Daniels) 4.01
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Quartetto Klimt – Quartetti Con Pianoforte (2000)

frontcover1Formed in 1995 at the Scuola di Musica di Fiesole, the Klimt Quartet is today one of the most interesting young chamber music groups in Italy. Since its foundation it has performed in numerous concerts including prestigious Festivals in Italy and abroad. Between 1997-1999 the quartet attended for two years the master classes held by Trio di Milano in Fiesole; since 2000 the quartet has studied for various years with M.° Pier Narciso Masi. In April 1998 the quartet won first prize at the International Chamber Music Competition “Gaetano Zinetti” at Sanguinetto (VR).
A few months after its foundation the quartet was invited by: “Encontre Internationale des Enseignements Artistiques” organized by the Institute de le Marionette a Charleville-Meziéres (France); the Orchestra Giovanile Italiana ad Aosta; the “Ater Festival” in Rimini; and by the “Elba Isola Musicale d’Europa” Festival, where it captured the attention of the great Yuri Bashmet.
The following years have seen the group participating in prestigious musical seasons among which “Lingotto Musica” in Turin, the “Festival di Ravello”, “Musica Insieme” in Bologna and at the Bologna Festival, “Amici della Musica” in Florence, “Amici della Musica” in Perugia, the “Accademia Filarmonica Romana” in Rome, the “Serate Musicali di Milano”, the “Festival Mozart” in Rovereto. The quartet has also played a leading part in numerous live television and radio performances for the RAI (Radio Televisione Italiana).

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In these years of intense activity, the quartet has benefited from the advice and support of artists such as Carlo Maria Giulini, Natalia Gutman and Maurizio Pollini; the latter invited Klimt to perform during the award ceremony of “Una vita nella Musica” in 1999 in Venice, and in 2001 gave them the scholarship “Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli”. In April 2001 the quartet inaugurated the first edition of “I Concerti del Quirinale” in Rome; in July 2001 the Klimt Quartet was invited to the prestigious “Oleg Kagan Musikfest di Kreuth” (Germany) and the “Festival of Santander” (Spain).
In 2010 the prestigious magazine Amadeus published the two quartets for piano and strings by Robert Schumann performed by the Klimt Quartet and was later invited by the RAI to perform these pieces live for Euroradio for the bicentenary of Schumann’s birth. In 2011 it has been invited by Columbia University in New York, gaining a warm success by audience and press.
In recognition of Klimt’s unfailing, passionate commitment to the promotion and diffusion of contemporary music, various composers, such as A.Solbiati, F.Antonioni, M.D’Amico and I. Vandor have dedicated compositions to the Quartet.
Since 2008 the violinist of the group has been Duccio Ceccanti. (by livornomusicfestival.com)

And this is the debut album …. what a great debut album, recorded by this young Italian ensemble … if you like classic music (like me) … you should listen … what a unbelieveable sound !

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Personnel:
Lorenza Borrani (violin)
Matteo Fossi (piano)
Alice Gabbiani (violincello)
Edoardo Rosadini (viola)

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Tracklist:

 Johannes Brahms: Quartetto op. 25 in sole minore:
01. Allegro 13.09
02. Intermezzo 7.40
03. Andante con moto 9.11
04. Rondo alla zingarese 8.51

Robert Schumann: Quartetto op. 47 in Mib maggiore:
05. Sostenuto assai – Allegro ma non troppo 9.30
06. Scherzo – molto vivace 3.49
07. Andante cantabile 7.23
08. Finale – vivace 8.01

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Dusted – When We Were Young (2000)

FrontCover1Dusted is the collaborative idea of ambient mix master and producer Rollo (Dido’s brother) and producer Mark Bates; it is a collaboration that marks the first fully conceptual downtempo/chillout album. When We Were Young is a collection of tracks that map themselves around the territory that is childhood, obviously, but more importantly, around its various emotional states. Like a thinking person’s Delerium — with a whole lot more imagination and ambition in the production area — Dusted uses a caustic groove of nostalgia and memory, and evoke — through slipped beats, an elegiac bass, a silvery guitar, and a swamp-ring of keyboards — the creation of a manifest destiny to use as a backdrop for singers Luke Garwood and Rachael Brown, who take the listener deeper into a world where the light almost never shines (one casual listen to “Hurt U” is enough to send you back to where you came from). The world revealed on When We Were Young is one of hurt, disappointment, betrayal, and a longing that seems to get larger with every drum loop. From the first single, “Always Remember to Respect Your Mother, Part 1,” co-written by Dido, as was “Winter,” through to “The Oscar Song, and “If I Had a Child,” the atmosphere is one of innocence lost, and innocence longed for, even with its tragic memories. Musically, we’re talking everything: from a digital-era-Pink Floyd to Björk to Ultramarine and Peter Gabriel.

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And while the very thought of an ambient chillout concept-album about the downside of childhood reeks of pretension, the careful and subtle manner in which these tunes are presented makes it instead not only thought-provoking, but seductive to listen to. For all of its ethereal excess, there is enough solid construction and careful consideration given to nuances to make it more than viable. When We Were Young is certainly worth the time and effort it takes to procure a copy. The reason? Simple: while it may echo many different things already out there; it sounds like nothing but itself — and that’s an accomplishment. ( by Thom Jurek)

Rollo Armstrong

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Personnel:
Rollo Armstrong (programming)
Mark Bates (keyboards, programming)
Rachael Brown (vocals)
Luke Garwood (vocals)
Martin McCory (guitar)
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Matt Benbrook (programming on 09.)
Dave Dulake (piano on 13.)
Michael Harbour (vocals on 09.)
Mal Hyde-Smith (percussion 03. + 12.)
Ibi (programming on 06.)
Tim Vogt (bass on 03., 07. + 12.)
Alan Young (vocals on 06.)

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Tracklist:
01. Childhood (Bates/Armstrong) 5.31
02. Time Takes Time (Bates/Armstrong) 5.41
03. Want U (Bates/Armstrong) 6.50
04. Hurt U (Bates/Armstrong) 1.45
05. If You Go Down To The Woods (Bates/Armstrong) 3.17
06. Always Remember To Respect Your Mother Pt. 1 (Dido) 3.49
07. The Biggest Fool In The World (Dido/Gallagher/Stannard) 6.47
08. Oh, How Sweet (Bates/Armstrong) 5.02
09. Always Remember To Respect Your Mother Pt. 2 (Benbrook) 4.01
10. Winter (Dido) 4.33
11. The Oscar Song (Bentovim/Garwood) 2.11
12. Under The Sun (Brown) 5.36
13. If I Had A Child (Garwood) 3.31

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Bajro Ajkic – Memory (2000)

FrontCover1I don´t know very much about Bajro Ajkic, … but I know that this album is a very beautiful one.

And I found a very nice story about this great celo player in the internet:

Three years ago (February 2008) I was wondering through the gardens of the Englischer Garten in Munich, Germany, when I came across a gentleman playing his cello and a small crowd had gathered around him. As I was undertaking one of the many online photography courses (www.ppsop.com ), I spent quite some time shooting images as this solitary figure as he played for the gathered crowd.

I had been back to the gardens many times in the past several years and finally this past June, there he was again playing for all the passers-by who would stop and listen to his soothing tones from his cello.

Bajro01During a break I introduced myself and mentioned I had taken photographs in the past and luckily I had my IPad with me to show him the images. He introduced himself as Bajro Ajkic and we had a great chat about his travels to North America and about his fondness for his music and playing for the people.

If you are ever in Munich I suggest you stop-by the gardens, this section is located right outside the Odeansplatz subway (U-Bahn) station and spend a few tranquil moments listening to Bajro and his wonderful music, I know I will whenever I return to Munich. (by davidmuldoonphotography.wordpress.com)

All I know, is that Bajro Ajkic lived for a short while in the USA … today he lives in Munich, but this album was recorded in Spain !

And it´s one of the findest private edition albums I´have ever heard … what a great sound, what a great cello player …

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Personnel:
Bajro Ajkic (cello)
Chiara (piano)
Luka (guitar)
Samira (violin)

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Tracklist:
01. Canon In D (Pachlbel) 4,01
02. Memory (Webber) 4.05
03. The Swan (Saint-Saens )3.10
04. Evocation (Merlin) 1.35
05. Arioso (Bach) 3.38
06. Nostalgy (Samira) 3.17
07. Meditation From Thais (Massenet) 4.33
08. The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg (Legrand) 2.16
09. The Love Story (Lai) 2.31
10. Only You (Clark) 2.34
11. The Godfather (Rota/Kusik) 2.23

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The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble – Same (2006)

FrontCover1The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble’s form of mutant jazz, slithers and slides…delicately painful. Each song, a little story of heartache, hope and perseverance, seemlessly fusing analogue and digital.
Soundtracks to non-existing movies, inspired by the worlds of The Quay Brothers, Hieronymus Bosch, Picasso, Goya, Murnau and Lang.

Jason Kohnen (aka Bong-Ra) and Gideon Kiers started TKDE around the turn of the century, creating new soundtracks to existing silent movies such as Murnau’s Nosferatu and Lang’s Metropolis. Both graduates of the School of Arts and majoring in audiovisuals and multimedia, the audio/visual concept developed into creating ‘visual’ music supported by existing film fragments to intensify the audio.
The Quay Brothers became a big inspiration for their debut album. Their surreal world combined many weird and wonderful aspects to strengthen TKDE’s sound.
Hilary Jeffrey on trombone joined in 2004, having performed with artists such as Nick Bullen and Patrick Pulsinger, also mastering trombone improvisation. Nina Hitz on cello and Ed Loman on guitar and Lica on vocal improvs form the TKDE live quintet or sextet, with Kiers providing drums, sequencing and visuals and Kohnen the bass, synths and sequencing. (by planet mu)

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The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble (TKDE) formed in 2000 as a project to compose new music for existing silent movies. Jason Köhnen (aka Bong-Ra) and Gideon Kiers, both graduates of the Utrecht School of Arts, combined their audio and visual skills to reinterpret classic movies by F.W. Murnau (Nosferatu) and F. Langs (Metropolis). (by last.fm)

Recorded and composed between 2000 and 2002.
(Re)mixed and mastered in 2005.

TK02Personnel:
Nina Hitz (cello)
Hilary Jeffries (trombone)
Gideon Kiers (programming)
Jason Kohnen (bass, guitar, programming)

BookletA Tracklist:
01. The Nothing Changes 4.54
02. Pearls For Swine 5.50
03. Adaptation Of The Koto Song by Dave Brubeck 3.58
04. Lobby 6.56
05. Parallel Corners 3.34
06. Rivers Of Congo 5.28
07. Solomon’s Curse 3.20
08. Amygdhala 3.58
09. Guernican Perspectives 4.48
10. Vegas 6.09
11. March Of The Swine 19.59

composed by Gideon Kiers  & Jason Kohnen

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Barry Tyler´s Original Dixieland Jazz Band – Stand Up Binky ! (I Am Standing Up) (2004)

FrontCover1Inspired by those great JAZZ innovators from New Orleans,The Original Dixieland Jazz Band,Bob Alcoe and I started to put the band together circa 1985.

In those days we called it The Original Disneyland Jazz Band (A Mickey Mouse outfit). We changed the name when we had to register our first album, “Limited Edition” fearing the wrath of Walt.

That proved a good decision because the album includes “I wanna be like you”(The King of the Swingers) and Disney’s lawyers called for a specimen copy.

Today,the band combines a formidable level of musicianship together with the fun and good humour associated with Traditional Jazz. We enjoy our music and we’re not afraid to show it.

BarryTylerBand02Personnel:
Bob Alcoe (trombone)
Roger Curphey (bass)
Bill Gyford (banjo)
Binky Pollock (vocals)
Johnny Rodgers (clarinet, saxophone)
Terry Starr (trumpet, cornet)
Barry Tyler (drums, percussion)

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Tracklist:
01. You Meet The Nicest People (Hoffman/Goodheart/Kurtz) 3.58
02. Beale Street Blues (Handy) 3.40
03. When Eratus Plays His Old Kazoon (Coslow/Sammy/Fain/Spier) 3.52
04. The Home Fire (Weiss/Douglas) 6.10
05. Snake Rag (Oliver/Piron) 4.08
06. Louisiana-I-A (Darensbourg) 3.14
07. Ole Miss (Handy) 3.44
08. Blueberry Hill (Lewis/Stock/Rose) 3.00
09. Panama (Tyers) 4.40
10. That Old Feeling (Fain/Brown) 5.36
11. Dans Les Rues D’Antibes (Bechet) 4.21
12. When You And I Were Young Maggie (Johnson/Butterfield) 3.47
13. Tishomingo Blues (Williams) 6.00
14. Louisiana (Razaf/Johnson/Schafer) 3.50
15. Easter Parade (Berlin) 4.28

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Lynyrd Skynyrd – Christmas Time Again (2000)

LynyrdSkynyrdChristmasTimeAgain FCIt’s a long way from Jacksonville, Florida, to the North Pole, but first generation Southern rockers Lynyrd Skynyrd put antifreeze in the old touring van and set a course for Santa’s workshop with this seasonal outing. The band, which now consists of three founders and a handful of later recruits, mix Yule warhorses (“Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Greensleeves”) and more recent fare (“Santa Claus Wants Some Lovin’,” “Run Run Rudolph,” Eddie C. Campbell´s customized-for-Christmas take on “Messin’ with the Kid”) with a smattering of originals. Guests Charlie Daniels and 38 Special check in with one song apiece, giving the whole project a kind of TV variety-show feel–that is, if you can picture a bearded Perry Como with a stack of Marshall amps at his back. (by Steven Stolder)

LynyrdSkynyrdChristmasTimeAgain CoverIllustrationPersonnel:
Kenny Aronoff (drums)
Rick Medlocke (guitar, vocals)
Billy Powell (keyboards)
Gary Rossington (guitar)
Dale Krantz-Rossington (vocals)
Hughie Thompson (guitar, background vocals)
Leon Wilkeson (bass)
Johnny van Zant (vocals)
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Carol Chase (background vocals)
Charlie Daniels (fiddle, vocals on 05.)
38 Special (on 10.)

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Tracklist:
01. Santa´s Messin´ With The Kid (Campbell) 3.15
02. Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer (Marks) 2.31
03. Christmas Time Again (Medlocke/Rossington/Rossington/Thomasson/v.Zant) 4.34
04. Greensleeves (Traditional) 2.18
05. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town (Coots/Gillespie) 3.08
06. Run Run Rudolph (Bridue/Marks/Medlocke) 3.34
07. Classical Christmas (Medlocke/Rossington/Rossington/Thomasson/v.Zant) 2.09
08. Hallelujah, It´s Christmas (Barnes/Chauncey/v.Zant) 4.01
09. Skynyrd Family (Medlocke/Rossingtgon/Thomasson/v.Zant) 3.00

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