The 25 Greatest EPs of 2023

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A few of the most fun music of any given 12 months comes within the type of an EP. Younger artists use it as they determine their voice or to make a giant first impression; for extra established acts, it will possibly function a playground of concepts between studio albums. It’s a format that conjures up fluidity and whose boundaries are fluid, which is why you usually need to go along with an artist’s definition – the one cause we will embody Kurt Vile’s new 52-minute mission on this checklist. Some EPs work finest as addendums to a much bigger mission, whereas others stand completely on their very own. No matter runtime or reputation, although, we consider these ones are price your time. Following our checklist of the finest albums and finest album covers of the 12 months, listed below are the 25 finest EPs of 2023.


25. Seaside Home, Turn out to be

The 5 songs on Turn out to be clearly belong in the identical universe because the duo’s 2022 album As soon as Twice Melody. They’re all lifted from the identical classes, and at one level, Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally felt like they created their very own little world. “To us, they’re all type of scuzzy and spacious, and reside within the spirit realm,” they wrote, which, typical sonic signifiers apart, looks as if the one related precondition for being included within the Seaside Home canon. They work their magic within the precise methods you count on them to, however in addition they handle to wander removed from the simply identifiable. The group rolled out As soon as Twice Melody in 4 chapters over a number of months, and as a late addition to the saga, Turn out to be doesn’t provide additional context or readability. It doesn’t fold these chapters into any type of neat story, not does it enterprise beyong the musical experimental the sprawling LP already showcased, but it surely offers a chance to step again into it and have the benefit of that outdated, placeless craving.


24. Heartworms, A Comforting Notion

The music on Heartworms’ debut EP, A Comforting Notion, produced by Dan Carey, is as reliably darkish and propulsive as something you’d count on to return out via his Speedy Wunderground label. However it’s JoJo Orme’s commanding presence as a vocalist, wiring her voice via anxious talk-singing to theatrical shouts, that turns it into one thing uniquely spine-chilling and doomful. The London-based musician – who volunteers at The Royal Air Power Museum in Hendon and lets her fascination with army historical past seep into her artwork – oscillates between dejection and despair as she lays out her dystopian imaginative and prescient, however her songs flirt with as a substitute of really veering into hopelessness; stress piles up as her phrases tumble forth, however she snaps out at simply the proper time. On the closing monitor, ’24 Hours’, Orme imagines herself a baby once more, “Excited to get up and do some/ Whereas the solar goes up/ Believing enamel turned cash/ And cash turned a memento.” A lot of A Comforting Notion is about liberating your self from it, even when it means working via totally different planes of actuality.


23. Searows, Finish of the World

As its title suggests, and never in contrast to Searows’ 2022 debut album Guard Canine, Finish of the World stares down emotions that might, a technique or one other, be referred to as catastrophic anxiousness; however because the Kentucky-born, Oregon-raised singer-songwriter Alec Duckart offers them the area to unfold, the songs reveal themselves as merchandise of not simply fixed fear, however change. He names a track ‘Humorous’, though it’s the heaviest, most susceptible track right here, then follows it up with the title monitor, which truly has fairly a bit of heat and levity to it. “I buried my enamel in all the pieces good/ And it didn’t save me like I believed it will,” Duckart sings on ‘I Can and I Will’, and by the point the thought cycles again, it’s principally simply an echo. There’s much more of them to get via, and he can’t wait to dig in.

Learn our Artist Highlight interview with Searows.


22. Saya Grey, QWERTY

At simply 17 minutes, Saya Grey’s QWERTY retains turning its head for brand new concepts. Drum breaks, guitar riffs, area recordings, and distorted vocal samples all dot the Canadian-Japanese artist’s idiosyncratic sound, which appears to cringe on the formation of any standard sample and subsequently strikes at a manic, unpredictable tempo. This makes the follow-up to Grey’s debut LP 19MASTERS as jarring and bewildering as it’s engrossing, relishing the pleasures of discovery reasonably than familiarity because it parses via not solely numerous sound mixtures however senasations, voices, identities. Delightfully, Grey’s model of avant-pop shows no aversion to flashes of theatricality, whether or not within the type of guitar solos (carried out by her brother Lucian) or the thrash metallic riff that bursts out on the finish of ‘..2 2 CENTIPEDES’, echoing Feist’s Mastodon-sampling ‘A Man is Not His Music’. But it’s not all about shock: Grey’s music tends to match the underlying sentiment, particularly within the grief-stricken ‘ANNIE, I SING FOR..’, which hangs onto a sure track construction for as lengthy it takes to at the least honour the sensation.


21. Scowl, Psychic Dance Routine

Scowl’s model of hardcore is relentless, vibrant, and exhilarating, and Psychic Dance Routine doesn’t fall wanting capturing the qualities that made the Santa Cruz band’s 2021 debut LP The place the Flowers Develop so compelling. However the four-track assortment is extra of an evolution than a condensed model of their already dynamic sound, offsetting their grittier sensibilities with a cleaner, infectious method on songs just like the title monitor and ‘Opening Evening’. Greater than a pure balancing act, although, the juxtaposition serves to amplify the uncooked, explosive vitality that makes the band stand out, to not point out vocalist Kat Moss’ spectacular capability to command all of it. As they gear up for LP2, Psychic Dance Routine doesn’t give the impression of a gaggle torn between two paths however yet another than able to splitting the distinction, as they show as early as on the opening monitor, ‘Shot Down’, which retains shifting gears with an ease that feels completely pure to Scowl.


20. Nia Archives, Dawn Bang Ur Head In opposition to Tha Wall

On Nia Archives’ second EP and the follow-up to final 12 months’s acclaimed Forbidden Feelingz, shuffling instrumentation offers each a backdrop and the antidote to feeling stagnant and defeated whereas a rush of prospects move forward of you. The Bradford-born, London-based producer is uniquely gifted at pairing drum n’ bass breakbeats with tender, introspective lyrics, and Dawn Bang Ur Head In opposition to Tha Wall makes the perfect out of that juxtaposition. After the explosive opener ‘Baianá’, which fuses jungle with a pattern of the Brazilian choir Barbatuques, the EP coasts extra on the vulnerability and stylings of neo-soul, whether or not in ‘No Want 2 Be Sorry, Name Me?’, an affecting duet with Maverick Sabre, or the pleading ‘So Inform Me…’. If all of it appears to flash by slightly too quick, the atmospheric closing monitor captures the early morning hours the place all of it comes into focus – the harm, the laughter, the little snapshots that float up your thoughts because the solar rises.


19. Vines, Birthday Celebration 

Earlier than recording music as Vines, Cassie Wieland principally composed music for others to play in a classical music context, however the brand new mission allowed her to experiment with vocal processing and lyric-based writing in a brand new approach, at first via stark, slowed-down renditions of songs like MGMT’s ‘Youngsters’ and Bo Burnham’s ‘All Eyes on Me’. Her debut assortment, Birthday Celebration, spans seven authentic tracks and closes out with a canopy of Modest Mouse’s ‘The World at Giant’. The road “My ideas had been so loud I couldn’t hear my mouth” is a becoming conclusion for an intimate but hypnotically expansive assortment, which swells round small, remoted phrases that resonate instantly however whose that means grows with every added texture and haunting repetition. Co-produced with Mike Tierney, Birthday Celebration affords entry to an inner world that’s richer and hotter than the loneliness that pervades it, and in doing so, manages to convey it outward.

Learn our Artist Highlight interview with Vines.


18. One Step Nearer, Songs for the Willow

The hooks on One Step Nearer’s Songs for the Willow are so anthemic they sound reflective of a band dwelling the dream, desperate to capitalize on the success of its debut album. However the EP’s immediacy, in addition to its use of unpolluted vocals, sheds gentle on the battle at its core: making an attempt to reconcile their love of touring with the issues it’s brought about as they went on the highway in help of 2021’s This Place You Know. It might be transient at simply wanting 10 minutes, however that quantities to a fairly lengthy goodbye, which is what these songs are all the time on the cusp or within the midst of. The Wilkes-Barre band’s wonderful grasp of hardcore appears liable for their dynamic vary as a lot as frontman Ryan Savitski’s determined craving for catharsis, clinging to a different ceaselessly with every melodic flip. “Right here comes the sound of loss,” he screams on ‘Darkish Blue’, and it appears like a crowd of voices, echoing the phrases again.


17. Kurt Vile, Again to Seaside Moon

It’s really easy to cozy as much as Kurt Vile’s Again to Moon Seaside EP that you just won’t even notice it runs longer than a few of his full-lengh LPs. “An EP by nobody’s definition however Vile’s,” as a press launch places it – and therefore why it’s included on this checklist – the 52-minute assortment finds the singer-songwriter very a lot in his consolation zone, drifting via songs which can be delightfully unprecious and earnest but usually handled with nuance that belies their presentation. Provided that it consists of covers of Wilco’s ‘Passenger Facet’ and Bob Dylan’s ‘Should Be Santa’ (that includes vocals by Kurt’s daughters Awilda and Delphine Vile), it may have been a throwaway assortment that overstays its welcome, notably given its typically disgruntled tone. However it by no means feels fairly aimless, and it doesn’t embrace cynicism a lot because it dumps it in favour over a less complicated, cheerfully self-aware worldview. “These recycled riffs ain’t goin’ wherever anytime quickly,” Vile declares on the title monitor, and in the event you’ve reached that time, you’re in all probability glad for it.


16. Aphex Twin, Blackbox Life Recorder 21f / in a room7 F760

As Richard D. James’ first assortment of authentic materials in 5 years, Blackbox Life Recorder 21f / in a room7 F760 was a launch equal components comforting and thrilling for many Aphex Twin followers – a reality the enigmatic producer anticipated by imbuing the music with surprisingly menacing and melancholy qualities. Even by digital music requirements, the exact moods of those three tracks – plus a ‘Parallax Combine’ of ‘Blackbox Life Recorder 22’ – are arduous to parse and mutable, particularly as James subtly tweaks his components with breakbeats, ambient tones, and fragments of melody that don’t a lot work together in an area as destabilize it. It’s cavernous and propulsive but resists contextualization, even inside the Aphex Twin universe. Although it might really feel longer than it’s, you’re left desirous to dive again in to catch any clue you may need missed.

15. Lowertown, Pores and skin of My Enamel

Pores and skin of My Enamel is Lowertown’s first impartial launch since 2019’s Associates, which led to the duo being signing a cope with Soiled Hit whereas they had been nonetheless youngsters. Earlier this 12 months, Olivia Osby and Avsha Weinberg introduced they’d parted methods with the label – which final launched their debut LP I Like to Lie in addition to 2021’s The Gaping Mouth EP – however the brand new four-track effort hardly appears like a reset. With a few of the songs courting again to the recording of these releases, The Gaping Mouth is haunted by the themes of isolation and sickness which have marked Lowertown’s music prior to now – the opening monitor revolves across the mantra “I like to lie” – which is counterbalanced by the nice and cozy chemistry between Osby and Weinberg in charming methods. Instrumentally eerie even when it tries to choose itself up or strip issues down, Pores and skin of My Enamel finally properties in on the vulnerability of Osby’s lyricism greater than her tangled poetry: “Generally I cover within the timber/ It’s good making an attempt to not be seen/ I feel in the future everybody I do know will overlook about me,” she sings again and again on ‘Obscurity’, with the consolation of slowly realizing she’s not the one one.


14. Spirit of the Beehive, i’m so fortunate

Over three LPs, Spirit of the Beehive have developed a status for making dense, cryptic sound collages, however i’m so fortunate is extra fascinating for experimenting with one thing approaching sentimentality reasonably than style. The band began engaged on the EP after the dissolution of a decade-long relationship between members Zack Schwartz and bassist Rivka Ravede, and as a substitute of packing as many concepts as attainable in 11 minutes, they make area for intense emotion; chaos, as manifested within the aftermath of a breakup, is the topic of those songs greater than of their formal expression. Although the lyrics can nonetheless be elusive and the manufacturing heady, they make approach for a few of the group’s most affecting and serene music but, marrying the poetic with the plainspoken: “Don’t dissolve within the water along with your hand stretched out to seek out her,” it concludes, “Within the stillness I’ll bear in mind the way you held me after we had been collectively.”


13. Yaya Bey, Exodus the North Star

For almost all of Exodus the North Star, Yaya Bey sounds liberated and blissfully in love. It’s each a pointy distinction and a beautiful companion to her wonderful 2022 album Keep in mind Your North Star, maintaining her fusion of hip-hop-, neo-soul, and reggae whereas dusting off the heaviness that marked the LP.  “Sunshine gained’t final all of my days, however I’ll be sunshine all of my days,” she sings on ‘Ascendent (mom fxcker)’, the fortitude of her voice glowing in opposition to the sparse, mellow, at instances lo-fi instrumentation. The one monitor that isn’t all sunshine is ‘munerah’, a sophisticated research of relationship dynamics that finds Bey flexing her talents as a performer as she switches between rapping and singing. However the EP dazzles with every jolt of affirmation it affords: “Sure, sure, sure,” she exclaims on ‘when saturn returns’, “No matter you could have for extra/ I’ll take it gladly.”


12. Wishy, Paradise

“This humorous feeling will get me increased than all my longing,” Nina Pitchkites sings on the opening title monitor of Wishy’s debut EP Paradise (out the day this checklist is up). Coasting on shoegaze, dream pop, and alt-rock as a lot as they do, after all the band – which Pitchkites leads alongside fellow Indiana songwriter Kevin Krauter – sing about longing, the type that may simply be mistaken for nostalgia. However their songs rush out for a sure feeling – humorous, sure, but additionally thrilling, fuzzy, and sophisticated – greater than any set of aesthetic and emotional signifiers. Removed from only a heat blanket of sounds, Paradise is breezy but dynamic, elevated by the interaction between Pitchkites and Krauter’s musical sensibilities – they commerce vocal and songwriting duties all through – and hypnotic, hazy melodies. ‘Blanket Time’, woozy and splendidly percussive, affords a peek into what occurs after they step out of their consolation zone of gauzy, whirling instrumentation I don’t know precisely what it’s about, however I get the sensation.


11. Yunè Pinku, BABYLON IX

On the follow-up to final 12 months’s Bluff EP, Yunè Pinku confidently takes her rapturous, kinetic dance music in a extra textural and otherwordly path. The Malaysian-Irish artist has stated she makes music for “introverted ravers,” which suggests it’s additionally a chance to let her creativeness run wild – right here, by drawing inspiration from historical Celtic myths and Hindu tales whereas transferring rave tradition into area. She suffuses BABYLON IX with intricate drum programming, atmospheric manufacturing, and emotionally wealthy lyrics that add dimensionality to what many will discover a blissfully nostalgic sound. “I’m not digital/ I’m simply feeling,” she professes on spotlight ‘Evening Gentle’, lest you mistake her sometimes deadpan vocals for something robotic, whereas the synths on ‘Blush Lower’ sparkle amidst stark but blurry confessions. ‘Fai Fighter’ opens, out of nowhere, with a scream and ends the mission on a euphoric excessive notice, getting misplaced in a disaffected trance that mirrors, for at the least a second, actual catharsis.


10. Hemlocke Springs, going…going…GONE!

The magic of Hemlocke Springs’ debut EP makes itself evident fairly rapidly: each track soars up from its bed room pop origins into one thing infectious, theatrical, and otherworldly. The mission of 24-year-old R&B singer/songwriter Naomi Udu, who made waves after posting her music to Soundcloud and TikTok whereas finding out for a grasp’s diploma at Dartmouth, Springs possesses a capability to seize modern-day neuroticism whereas invoking each the timeless craving of ’80s synth-pop and the fantastical ambition of an artist like SPELLLING, suggesting she may make her personal model of The Turning Wheel if she put her thoughts to it. However going…going…GONE! is extra immersed in Springs’ personal messy actuality than fairy tales, the hooks catchy and endearing till they begin to sound extra like spells: “I simply need love/ I’ll take anybody/ I would like your consideration/ On this frail dimension of a mind.” On ‘enkee1’, she as soon as once more rides out in the hunt for love, however there’s a unique type of earnestness to it because the music, bubbly and vibrant, urges her to maintain shifting. Then, for a second, it transcends.


9. BAMBII, INFINITY CLUB

If you happen to had been a fan of BAMBII’s nocturnal manufacturing on Kelela’s newest album Raven, the Toronto DJ’s debut EP isn’t one to overlook. INFINITY CLUB is a showcase not just for Kirsten Azan’s multi-faceted manufacturing however for her dedication to carving out an area for group – she’s identified for founding the biannual membership evening Jerk as an ode to her Caribbean heritage – bringing collectively influences from dancehall, hip-hop, jungle, and R&B. It’s spacious, sultry, and deliciously playful – thanks in no small half to its vary of friends, from Girl Lykez’s mischievous verses on ‘WICKED GYAL’ to ‘Sydney’s Interlude’, the place MC Sydanie’s vocals glide with the alluring fluidity BAMBII masters all through the EP. Even in its darker moments, the mission – which opens with a refrain of voices intoning “You at the moment are coming into the infinity membership” in numerous languages – doesn’t lose sight of its central aim, inviting us right into a world that feels common however wholly her personal.


8. Angel Olsen, Ceaselessly Means

Huge Time was an album of nice heat, private reckoning, and self-actualization for Angel Olsen, who delivered her songs with extra self-assurance than even a few of her most lavish, imposing work. Accumulating materials from the album classes, the 4 songs on Ceaselessly Means assert that there’s no full cease to that journey, whose solely pure conclusion is to embrace the great thing about uncertainty. Regardless of the seemingly mournful tone of songs just like the title monitor, Olsen has a approach of imbuing quiet revelations like “Ceaselessly means saying what’s in your thoughts” with radiant profundity, and the comparatively low stakes of an outtakes EP permits her to linger in them, too. Although they encapsulate the haunting, intimate grandeur of Olsen’s music, they’re much less simple than a few of the songs on Huge Time, not a lot outstretching its world as offering one other valuable look into it – a reminder that solely by maintaining your eyes peeled and your coronary heart open are you able to ever adapt to, and be taught to like, modifications each huge and small. 


7. Jlin, Perspective

As a physique of labor, Perspective actually stretches the thought of its title. The mission is predicated on the collaborative experimentation between Jerrilynn Patton, the luminary producer often called Jlin, and the Grammy Award-winning Third Coast Percussion; their compositions earned a nomination for the 2023 Pulitzer Prize for music, and the EP feeds the Third Coast’s acoustic variations again into her digital music world, which now hinges much less and fewer on the vocabulary of footwork and IDM. The combination of extra natural percussion and drums does nothing to decrease the depth, intricacy, and affect of Jlin’s music – if something, having the ability to peer into it via totally different angles solely makes their magnificence extra tangible. Given how a lot these compositions appear designed to problem and subvert, you may be stunned by how a lot they find yourself shifting you, notably the minimal nearer ‘Duality’, which may be one of many prettiest tracks in Jlin’s catalog.


6. Daneshevskaya, Lengthy Is the Tunnel

Lengthy Is the Tunnel, Anna Beckerman’s newest effort as Daneshevskaya, was co-produced by Ruben Radlauer of Mannequin/Actriz, Hayden Ticehurst, and Artur Szerejko, and options contributions from Lewis Evans (of Black Nation, New Street), Maddy Leshner, and Finnegan Shanahan. Each playfully enchanting and hauntingly poignant, its seven tracks toe the road between conventional and patchwork songwriting, mixing reminiscences, diary entries, and dreamy photographs in ways in which maintain a mirror as much as her personal life, these round her, and past. They’re haunted by the previous however possess a childlike curiosity that appears to drive them down unpredictable paths, artfully organized however pure in its emotional expression. Chances are you’ll not have the ability to pin it right down to a single factor, however Beckerman holds battling feelings directly, hoping you get nearer to the reality someplace within the center.

Learn our Artist Highlight interview with Daneshevskaya.


4. Ice Spice, Like..?

Because the launch of her Like..? EP in January, Ice Spice has turn into one of many world’s largest younger stars; it’s arduous to consider it was solely this 12 months we bought her first assortment of tracks. On prime of a placement on the Barbie soundtrack, a Taylor Swift collab, and a number of other Grammy nods, the Bronx rapper has capitalized on the EP’s success with two expanded editions, however the authentic model – six tracks clocking in at 13 minutes – is a delight to revisit. Her tackle drill, cooked up with producer RIOTUSA, is level-headed and charming, boasting hooks and intelligent wordplay however principally resting on Ice Spice’s clean, sardonic supply; her bluntness serves the format completely. Like..? is the definition of a promising debut, showcasing the spontaneous method and charisma of an artist nonetheless discovering her voice; that it’s nonetheless fairly exceptional solely makes the prospect of a debut full-length all of the extra attractive.


4. boygenius, the remainder

The songs on the remainder, just like the voices of boygenius, are sometimes tousled. Phoebe Bridgers makes use of that precise phrase on ‘Voyager’, relaying the intimate language of a chaotic relationship that echoes the one she longed to flee on boygenius’ 2018 self-titled EP. When she first performed the track at a London present in July 2022, greater than a 12 months earlier than its boygenius reside debut, it was a solitary affair, floating someplace within the Punisher universe and unadorned by the presence of her shut mates Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus. Months after the discharge of boygenius’ debut full-length the document and close to the tip of their triumphant tour in help of the LP, the context of boygenius – an indie rock supergroup reaching and self-consciously navigating new ranges of success – is each unignorable and empowering. The chemistry is extra essential nonetheless. They don’t sing about one another as a lot, however they appear and lean in direction of one another in powerfully incremental methods – not utilizing music as a way of adorning or documenting time a lot as testifying to that they’ve spent collectively.

Learn the complete evaluation.


3. Hand Habits, Sugar the Bruise

The songs of Sugar the Bruise usually have easy beginnings, leaning on the intimate vulnerability that has marked Hand Habits’ work prior to now. However working with collaborators together with co-producers Luke Temple, Phillip Weinrobe, and Jeremy Harris, and impressed by their month-long stint as a songwriting teacher at Faculty of Music, Meg Duffy makes use of the EP/mini-album format to embody the fluidity of artwork, how its constructions consistently itch for transformation. The drum beat that opens ‘One thing Flawed’ is jarring for a way nearly industrial it’s, however Duffy softens the anxiousness of an unsure friendship with tenderly affecting instrumentation and lyrics; nearer ‘The Bust of Nefertiti’ takes a unique path solely, steadily buying and selling acoustic guitars for a home beat. “This life will be arduous/ It takes a toll in your nerves/ I do know that you just tried to remain forward of the curve,” Duffy sings on ‘Andy in Stereo’, which itself strikes from a ballad to a waltz, addressing a fellow musician who’s all the time on the highway. There’s so many types this life can take, they appear to recommend, as long as you don’t let it maintain you down.


2. crushed, additional life

It solely takes a second to register the heartbeat of each track on crushed’s additional life EP, however there’s a lot to take pleasure in in its swirling haze. Shoegaze and dreampop are touchstones within the duo’s sound, however they’re lovingly embedded in such a approach that permits them to zero in on the main points that grasp within the murk and melancholy that pervades them. And whereas moodiness and bliss grasp facet by facet, crushed’s use of samples and area recordings flesh out the environments these huge feelings take form in – huge but particular to Bre Morell’s songwriting, which cruises via the bleeding edges of expertise, carrying the load of longing but in some way radiant with it. It’s all the time on the cusp of an ending and a starting, and so they know find out how to delight in its mild glow – the not figuring out, getting misplaced – and when one thing shiny and new comes alongside, they know to embrace it. “Been wandering misplaced for years on finish/ However once you take a look at me, I’m residence once more,” Morell sings on ‘milksugar’, the place fireworks mingle with guitar suggestions – once more, although it’s in all probability by no means felt like this sort of heaven earlier than.


1. NewJeans, Get Up

Minji, Hanni, Danielle, Haerin burst onto the scene final 12 months with the primary NewJeans EP: 4 modern, irresistible pop songs that earned a spot on our 2022 finest EPs checklist. Their second EP, Get Up, is even higher, cementing their standing as one of the crucial thrilling Ok-pop acts round. Effortlessly mixing membership music and R&B stylings, it finds the group working with Artist Highlight alumnus Erika de Casier on lots of the tracks, additional fleshing out the quiet confidence and playful, glowing intimacy that units them aside from their contemporaries. The singles are full of infectious hooks, however its 12 minutes are additionally a few of the most subtly intricate and pared-back pop music this 12 months needed to provide; even given the group’s meteoric rise, it’s slightly stunning the mission peaked atop the Billboard 200 albums chart. Nearer ‘ASAP’ hints towards a euphoric launch, however the understated finale solely makes you wish to dive proper again in. The takeaway is straightforward: The clock’s ticking quick, so don’t waste a minute; there’s sweetness throughout.

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