Soundtrack Central The best of VGM and other great soundtracks

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Dragonfish Dog Apr 13, 2016 (edited Apr 13, 2016)

Here's a topic I've been meaning to post for awhile; anyone still feel like actually discussing video game soundtracks?

Since about 2010, my soundtrack collecting really tapered off, around the same time my gaming tapered off for awhile.

I think the only soundtracks I've acquired since then have been:

-The Final Fantasy XIII Trilogy (FFXIII, FFXIII-2, FFXIII-3 a.k.a. "Lightning Returns")

-NieR, and each of its arrange albums (Fifteen Nightmares, Piano Collection, Tribute Album "Echo")

-A few other PS3 JRPG soundtracks (Ends of Eternity, Drakengard 3, Tokitowa, The Witch & The Hundred Knight)

-Wii RPG soundtracks (Arc Rise Fantasia, Xenoblade, Fragile Dreams, Muramasa, Opoona)

-Some Indie Game Soundtracks here-and-there (Closure, Dustforce, Fez, Flower, Guacamelee, Limbo, Lone Survivor, Machinarium, rain, Thomas Was Alone, The Unfinished Swan, VVVVVV)

And fact is, while I still own each of these in some capacity, many of them, I don't even really listen to all that much.

The question I'd like to pose is, what else have I been missing for the past 6 years, that's been really good, if anything?

Indie game soundtracks have been really easy to get, when sometimes they're included with the download of the game, otherwise, you can find them for download on sites like Bandcamp and Loudr, or even Amazon MP3, for $10 or less.

Final Fantasy XIII-2's soundtrack is probably my favorite out of the FFXIII trilogy; "New Bodhum" is a really great theme, has a real warm, bright, optimistic sound to it, evocative of new beginnings; perfect for both the beach environment that it backs, as well as, more or less, the beginning of the game. I actually really liked the vocals in a lot of the game's tracks.

For whatever reason, I never really gave the FFXIII soundtrack as much play time as FFXIII-2; FFXIII-2 just makes me feel happier. However, "Archylte Steppe" (how do you even pronounce "Archylte?") and "Dust to Dust" are my 2 most favorite tracks off the FFXIII OST - "Archylte Steppe" is evocative of an unbound, unrestricted, wide open natural place, while the vocals on "Dust to Dust" are haunting and chilling - in a good way! Well, okay, the battle themes were pretty good, too. "Blinded by the Light" was pretty much the reason I bought the soundtrack! "Vile Peaks" also had a pretty good beat, and the radio transmissions and gothic chanting in it were pretty cool, too. "Sunleth Waterscape" was also pretty good.

FFXIII-3, I tore out 7 tracks; the 3 tracks for Yusnaan, the festival city ("Awaiting the Celebration," "Glittering City of Yusnaan," and "City of Revelry") as well as 4 other tracks, I don't quite remember what they were used for ("Eternal Midnight," "Sunset Path," "Snow's Final Words," "The Savior's Words").

I also rather liked FFXIII-3 from a gameplay standpoint - I actually liked what they did with the battle system; the plot presented an interesting premise - the world's end is inevitable, and you have to save souls for them to be reincarnated - but for the most part, they went nowhere with it, and ended up as every bit contrived and convoluted as the past 2 games.

NieR, I think they kind of botched the soundtrack release with. The track lengths are really too short for my liking (Some of the tracks could've stood to have been twice as long), and many of the tracks, whereas they slowly built-up to the vocals in-game, they simply explode from the start with the vocals from the beginning of the track on the CDs (examples: "Song of the Ancients," "The Incomplete Stone," "Cold Steel Coffin").

Some of the songs were also dynamic, in which they picked up in intensity when you were fighting enemies, and the only parts that are on the soundtrack, are those more intense parts (again, see" The Incomplete Stone" and "Cold Steel Coffin" as examples). I would've recorded these tracks straight from the game, if I knew I wasn't going to be happy with how they presented them on the official soundtrack, but alas, I no longer own the game - and it's actually increasing in value because of its rarity, so that's prospect is only becoming that much more expensive, when I really only want to record about 7-9 tracks.

The Nier Tribute Album "Echo" was probably my most favorite out of the NieR arrange albums, as it presented the widest variety of styles, from electronica, to more subdued orchestral.

Fifteen Nightmares didn't strike me as anything great; the first half was a mix of heavy metal and techno, while the second half, orchestral arrangements.

The NieR Piano Collection was a pretty derivative piano arrangement album, and didn't really do anything special with the original pieces, improvisation, or otherwise.

The Witch & The Hundred Knight is probably my most favorite Tenpei Sato soundtrack ever, some of those instruments here sound live, and the melodies are actually REALLY good. A lot of his work really grates on my nerves, the synth he uses. The violin/viola/fiddle he likes to use in so much of his stuff, while it has annoyed me in the past, I don't find it so grating on this soundtrack. For that matter, this soundtrack is rather dramatic in tone, while most of his previous works have been rather comedic in tone.

Ashley Winchester Apr 13, 2016

I can't really comment too much on this one.

I have albums/boxes that were released in 2010 and after, but the music/games game out years earlier.

The newest soundtrack I have is 2007's Wild Arms XF Original Soundtrack which was damn slick.

Last soundtrack in the franchise; nice way to go out with a bang.

James O Apr 13, 2016

I'm a shameless plug whore for Masayoshi Soken - FFXIV's soundtrack is absolutely brilliant. love it.  try it out.

avatar! Apr 13, 2016 (edited Apr 13, 2016)

Let's see, what modern vgm do I listen to...

Dark Souls
Divinity Original Sin
Dragon's Dogma
Everyone's Gone to the Rapture
Ni No Kuni
Ori and the Blind Forest
The Witcher
The Witcher 2
The Witcher 3
Skyrim
Sword & Sworcery

There are others, might add more later. Oh, and I certainly have not played all the games, but dang some of those soundtracks are just great smile

Dragonfish Dog Apr 14, 2016

avatar! wrote:

Dragon's Dogma

I've been avoiding the game, as I understand it's DESIGNED to be played multiplayer (guess who doesn't have friends - in close proximity? - Me), but I have to admit, I do miss me some Vanillaware.

avatar! wrote:

Ni No Kuni

Forgot about this one!

I recorded a few tracks from the game itself, namely the first iteration of the world map theme, before it becomes more bombastic later in the game, as well as Ding Dong Dell.

The official soundtrack release was only about 15 tracks long; was it even the whole thing, or was a lot left out?

avatar! wrote:

Ori and the Blind Forest

Oh yeah, forgot about this one too (mentioned it in the thread for the game itself); I did buy this and listen to it without buying the game (yet).

TerraEpon Apr 14, 2016

Dragonfish Dog wrote:

I've been avoiding the game, as I understand it's DESIGNED to be played multiplayer (guess who doesn't have friends - in close proximity? - Me), but I have to admit, I do miss me some Vanillaware.

Are you sure you're not thinking of Dragon's Crown?
Though that game is a perfectly fine single player game nonetheless.

Dragonfish Dog Apr 14, 2016 (edited Apr 14, 2016)

TerraEpon wrote:
Dragonfish Dog wrote:

I've been avoiding the game, as I understand it's DESIGNED to be played multiplayer (guess who doesn't have friends - in close proximity? - Me), but I have to admit, I do miss me some Vanillaware.

Are you sure you're not thinking of Dragon's Crown?
Though that game is a perfectly fine single player game nonetheless.

Yeah, I was thinking of Dragon's Crown. (>_<)

I guess I should really check that game out, before it becomes so old, it's an expensive collector's item all over again.

The_Paladin Apr 14, 2016

Well, off the top of my head, some 2010 or newer soundtracks that excelled are:

Last Ranker
No More Heroes 2
Bastion
Catherine
Cave Story 3D
Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim
Super Meat Boy
Bravely Default
Dodonpachi Saidaioujou
Guild Wars 2
Kid Icarus Uprising
Rhythm Thief R
Wangan Midnight Maximum Tune 4
Shovel Knight
Transistor
Guacamelee
The Last Door
Hotline Miami
Sword & Sworcery
Electronic Super Joy
Risk of Rain
Undertale

Ah... I know I'm missing a bunch...

GoldfishX Apr 14, 2016 (edited Apr 14, 2016)

My modern VGM canon...

Right off the bat, Super Mario Galaxy 2 and Super Mario 3D World both immediately spring to mind (although I had to check the date on Galaxy 2...it BARELY made it, being released in 2010). Ditto Mario Kart 8, Kid Icarus Uprising and the recent Smash soundtrack. Nintendo has been on fire, despite their reputation for not being soundtrack-friendly.

Sonic Lost World was a monster of a soundtrack, and Colors/Generation are not far behind. My favorites from these 3 are always floating around my playlists.

Both of the recent Persona fighting game soundtracks are super strong efforts. Blazblue Chronophantasma is generally a nice upgrade over the original Blazblue music...still a tad thin and inconsistent, but lots of good stuff spread over 3 discs. Shin Sangoku Musou 7 is surprisingly good from what little I've heard of it. I had a falling out with Dynasty Warriors music awhile back, but the new stuff from this one was really surprising. Guilty Gear Xrd though stands as my most disappointing soundtrack in this timeframe. It's 4 CD's of truly awful, generic, aimless heavy metal. It's a far cry from the series' roots and even Blazblue. It's even annoying ingame.

Jake Kaufman contributed both Shantae and the Pirates Curse and Shovel Knight, two easy favorites. The Shovel Knight Arrange album is good too. Edit: VVVVVV is a must-have too, especially for retroheads (damn, this one snuck in there too...1/4/2010)

On the RPG side, Persona Q, Arc Rise Fantasia, Pokemon X and Y, Fantasy Life and Classic Dungeon ~Fuyoku no Masoujin~ all did it for me. I have mixed feelings on the Sekaijuu soundtracks since 3...I appreciate them, but they are hit-or-miss melodically. There are far more tracks from Sekaijuu 2 and 3 than any I go to from the newer ones. The new Legend of Mana arrange was good, as were the seemingly rushed Xenogears and Chrono efforts.

student41269 Apr 15, 2016

The only big deal VGM for me that's not already been mentioned is El Shaddai: Ascension Of The Metatron. Sheer class. I listen to that more than any other soundtrack released since 2010.

Dragonfish Dog Apr 15, 2016

student41269 wrote:

The only big deal VGM for me that's not already been mentioned is El Shaddai: Ascension Of The Metatron. Sheer class. I listen to that more than any other soundtrack released since 2010.

I actually recorded that one straight from the game, but lost it (the recordings I made) the last time my computer crashed.

Soundtrack was actually published by SQEX, but it's not since OOP: http://vgmdb.net/album/25010

Only really recorded the stage themes, because those were what stuck out the most, and what I liked the best, but the official print of the soundtrack also features all of the cinematic tracks as well; otherwise, I don't understand how the soundtrack release could've turned out so large.

Dragonfish Dog Apr 15, 2016 (edited Apr 15, 2016)

The_Paladin wrote:

No More Heroes 2

The boss battle themes in this one were solid!

The_Paladin wrote:

Bastion

I was hoping there were more Western themes than there are, but I know this wasn't necessarily meant to be Wild Arms.

The_Paladin wrote:

Catherine

I like the bar themes from the game; otherwise, the puzzle gameplay themes were just remixes of existing orchestral pieces, and the cinematic tracks were pretty forgettable.

The_Paladin wrote:

Cave Story 3D

Cave Story! How could I forget Cave Story? If anyone asked me what my favorite game was, it'd have to be Cave Story; not just because it more or less kicked off the "Indie Game Revolution," but because it really is a decent game in its own right! Also, solid soundtrack!

The_Paladin wrote:

Shovel Knight

Shovel Knight! I keep forgetting about Shovel Knight! Yes, loved this one too!

The_Paladin wrote:

Transistor

Those haunting vocals in that one track, when you freeze time to plan out your attacks? Love that one! Still haven't listened to or played the game at all much. I demoed it for about an hour or two just to make sure the download worked. I'm expecting this one to be pretty good.

The_Paladin wrote:

Electronic Super Joy

Was this soundtrack released in any commericial retail purchasable capacity, digital or otherwise? I can't find it!

I love the phat beats and bass in this one! AWW YEEEAAAHHH (y'know, from the game?)

The_Paladin wrote:

Undertale

And I forgot about Undertale. Haven't even played it yet (but watched Let's Plays of it up to a certain point), but I own it, along with the soundtrack. The "Dogsong" is my ring tone! tongue

The_Paladin Apr 15, 2016

Dragonfish Dog wrote:
The_Paladin wrote:

Electronic Super Joy

Was this soundtrack released in any commericial retail purchasable capacity, digital or otherwise? I can't find it!

I love the phat beats and bass in this one! AWW YEEEAAAHHH (y'know, from the game?)

The soundtrack is available in two parts on loudr.  I got it in a game music bundle, but you can still pick them up individually on loudr.  The Groove City (expansion?) soundtrack which I haven't heard is available on Steam.

Dragonfish Dog Apr 15, 2016 (edited Apr 15, 2016)

The_Paladin wrote:
Dragonfish Dog wrote:
The_Paladin wrote:

Electronic Super Joy

Was this soundtrack released in any commericial retail purchasable capacity, digital or otherwise? I can't find it!

I love the phat beats and bass in this one! AWW YEEEAAAHHH (y'know, from the game?)

The soundtrack is available in two parts on loudr.  I got it in a game music bundle, but you can still pick them up individually on loudr.  The Groove City (expansion?) soundtrack which I haven't heard is available on Steam.

THIS INFORMATION IS PERTINENT TO MY INTERESTS.

Thank you!

Forgot to check LoudR.

avatar! Apr 16, 2016

TerraEpon wrote:
Dragonfish Dog wrote:

I've been avoiding the game, as I understand it's DESIGNED to be played multiplayer (guess who doesn't have friends - in close proximity? - Me), but I have to admit, I do miss me some Vanillaware.

Are you sure you're not thinking of Dragon's Crown?
Though that game is a perfectly fine single player game nonetheless.

Oops, forgot that one myself! Dragon's Crown has a gorgeous soundtrack! Also, it's still a great single-player experience, even if not quite as much fun as with your closest friends.

Ramza Apr 16, 2016

Ashley Winchester wrote:

I have albums/boxes that were released in 2010 and after, but the music/games game out years earlier.

This. When the Livealive OST got reprinted, that was a big deal for me. And then there was the Langrisser I~III Box. And also the Mana and SaGa boxes, I think both of those are 2010 and forward. Oh, and the DQ I-IX symphonic suite box set. Also published after 2010.

Most of what is listed by other people here I'd agree with. In "Indie Game" realm, I'm totally on board with everything said. One noticeably missing is "Offspring Fling!" by Alec Holowka. It's so good, it hurts. It's a must -own.

And then ... NieR. What can be said that hasn't already been said? I think "echo" is the best of the arrange albums, but the OST remains the best thing in its music collection.

I am nervous about NieR: Automata being Emi-Evans-less ... but we'll see how it goes.

Lots of others to say. I stand by my "music of the year" picks at RPGFan and OSV for the past however-many years. So ... boatloads of Square Enix arrange albums and whatnot. And CAVE music. mmmm, CAAAAVE.

Ramza

Qui-Gon Joe Apr 17, 2016

As someone who has actually found lots to like even in modern VGM, six years is a LONG time to try and reply to all at once.  I may add to this if I think of more, but here are some highlights.

First off, anything FFXIV related.  Soken is the first new(er) composer at Square in a long time that I think stands up to their classic stuff.  Uematsu's work for 1.0 didn't really impress me at first, but the more I hear it the more it has grown on me.  I have had some difficulty adjusting to new Uematsu, but I'm starting to appreciate his recent work more than I did at first.  While I love and look forward to every new Soken track in every one of the game's expansions, it still brings a smile to my face when they pull in a 1.0 track for a cutscene or something!

Bravely Default is one of my favorite RPG scores EVER.  Absolutely love everything about it.  I find the game a bit of a drag, and I'm still slowly trying to slog through it after THREE YEARS (just reached chapter 5, yaaaay?), but the music is one thing that keeps bringing me back.  The absence of Revo from the second game pretty much killed all interest I had.  sad

Corpse Party - Do these count?  The games didn't come out in English until within the time frame you mention, but the CDs for the original game date from 2008.  If they count, they're wonderful.  If they don't, they're still wonderful... but they don't count.  XD

Danganronpa 1&2 - Really enjoyed the games and really enjoyed the Takada soundtracks.  I find his music works a lot better for me if I've played the game, though.  I know a lot of people love anything he does, but I find his stuff is PERFECT for the visuals they accompany and I need that with his work.

Final Symphony - Spectacular symphonic arrangements of Final Fantasy music.  Loooove it.

Flower & Journey - Two different soundtracks from two different Thatgamecompany games by two different composers, but both are really cool and sound unlike most anything else out there.  I understand why people might not like the games, but the music for both is great.

Gravity Rush/Gravity Daze - Game and music are phenomenal.  I can't even describe how happy I am that Sony greenlit a sequel despite the undoubtedly mediocre sales of the original.  The soundtrack is glorious (though I find my favorite tracks don't show up as frequently on "best of" lists as everyone else's).

Gyakuten Saiban/Ace Attorney/Phoenix Wright - anything from this series that has come out since 2010 is still just as good as the stuff from pre-2010.  Too lazy to look up which ones are pre-2010 and which are post right now.

Last Ranker - Shimomura shows no signs of slowing down for me, and despite what others have said about poor mastering on this album (not that I'd really notice - I'm not quite as technically versed as many here...) I think it's got some great compositions.  Despite usually listening mostly to music from games I've actually played, I listen to this album a LOT without ever having touched the game itself.

Ni No Kuni - I really like basically anything Hisaishi, so this is an obvious choice.  Also adored the game and it was my only PSN platinum trophy for a long time.  Music is definitely something that kept me wanting to stay in the game world and keep working at it!

Qui-Gon Joe Apr 17, 2016

Don't remember how long posts are allowed to be, so I'm just preemptively moving to a new one!

Okamiden - Really liked the original Okami soundtrack and really like the "sequel," despite a bunch of stuff being reused.  Album sound is VASTLY superior to what you hear in the actual DS game, and far more in line with the PS2 original.

Okami: Goju no Onkou - Pretty cool arrangement album of Okami music with real, traditional Japanese instruments.  I really like this sort of thing, so I find the album rather enjoyable!

Opoona!  The album came out in 2010, though the game is quite a bit older.  The game is WEIRD and oddly one of the most memorable RPG experiences for me in the last decade.  The music is GREAT, and I don't even normally love Sakimoto & crew's stuff all that much.  This is such a cool, quirky soundtrack and I pull the album off the shelf aaaall the time still.

Piano Opera Final Fantasy (all three) I'm a sucker for good piano albums of video game music, especially to listen to in the evening just before bed.  I like all of these, and hope they continue to do more.  A X-XI-XII would be most appreciated, Square!

...was going to say Professor Layton next, but they stopped producing soundtracks for them after the fourth game and that was 2009.  Curse you, Level Five, the soundtracks of the last two games in the series were good enough to warrant albums too!  sad

Radiant Historia - another super solid Shimomura soundtrack from a year that saw a LOT of her work drop onto the scene.  Doesn't hurt that it's one of my favorite games from last generation, either.  SO recommended to anyone who ever liked classic JRPGs.

Red Dead Redemption - Such a perfect accompaniment to the game, and sounds like NOTHING else I've ever heard in a game.  Well, I guess Wild ARMs, but that's not anywhere near as rustic (though still very good as its own thing).

Shatter original soundtrack - Never played the game, but this has been my music while driving in the car more than perhaps any video game soundtrack ever.  Absolutely great.

Kid Icarus Uprising - Nintendo has really been killing it with soundtracks lately (I was pretty disappointed with their musical output for a while) and I listen to this one a LOT.  So glad Mitsuda's studio put out the full 3 disc set vs. the one disc sampler that Club Nintendo did.

Speaking of Nintendo, Super Mario Galaxy 2, Super Mario 3D World, and Mario Kart 8 all got full soundtracks on CD and use live instrumentation and are all AWESOME.  Mahito Yokota (for the former 2) has rocketed to one of my favorite game music composers currently on the scene.  Cannot wait for whatever Tokyo EAD does next if only because it's surely guaranteed to have more of his work.

SQ Chips 1&2 and associated bonus discs - While the original SQ Chips is the best thing here (and I know many on this board aren't fond of the second album), I still enjoy everything associated with this series.  Lots of fun arrangements and convinced me to give chiptune stuff a shot.

Zelda: Link Between Worlds - More Nintendo-on-fire material, this has both super solid new stuff and wonderful arrangements of music from A Link to the Past.  After being lukewarm on most Zelda OSTs since Majora's Mask, this one blew me away.

Xenoblade - Not much to say that hasn't already been said.  I HATE when albums split cutscene music and in-game music onto separate discs, though.  And as I recall this one moves some boss battle themes to the discs with the cutscenes and the whole release is kind of a mess.  Music itself is great, though.

Xenoblade X - Worth mentioning because I do think about half the music is great and works very well both in and out of game.  The other half, though, I can't stand either in-game or out.  I know a lot of people do like the "weirder" stuff here, though, so it might be worth checking out.  Sawano seems to be a really interesting composer whether you like him or hate him.

Ys Memories of Celceta/Foliage Ocean of Celceta - Not as good as Ys IV Perfect Collections, but I did still like a lot of this OST.  Definitely has that modern Falcom sound, though, so if you're looking for more of a throwback to the 90s your mileage may vary.

Dragonfish Dog Apr 17, 2016 (edited Apr 17, 2016)

Ramza wrote:

And CAVE music. mmmm, CAAAAVE.Ramza

Cave? You mean the soundtrack to "The Cave?"

P.S. Almost forgot the soundtrack for Freedom Planet! (Pretty sure I didn't list it previously)

Ramza Apr 17, 2016

Qui-Gon is right. Though the soundtrack to "The Cave" was okay, it's not nearly as good as the CAVE publications of the last half-decade. I think Akai Katana Shin makes the cut, and obviously DDP SDOJ does. And then there were two Mushihimesama albums, one of which was arranged by Ryu Umemoto (RIP).

Also, I love Qui-Gon's list. Great, great choices. Especially happy to see that Corpse Party representation. That US 2disc release with Blood Drive for Vita was a huge money-saver for collectors and the music is just so memorable, it's ridiculous.

avatar! Apr 17, 2016 (edited Apr 17, 2016)

Qui-Gon Joe wrote:

Ys Memories of Celceta/Foliage Ocean of Celceta - Not as good as Ys IV Perfect Collections, but I did still like a lot of this OST.  Definitely has that modern Falcom sound, though, so if you're looking for more of a throwback to the 90s your mileage may vary.

I really enjoy the Ys series, and I thought Ys 7 >> Ys Celceta. In every way except for graphics. Music was WAY better in Ys 7, as was story, gameplay, characters, dialogue, etc. In fact, Ys Celceta seemed to be an inferior inbred cousin to Ys 7. So, if you're looking for great Ys music, go Ys 7. Not that Ys Celceta actually had "bad" music, it simply was not memorable in any way.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUTTslgbslg

Qui-Gon Joe Apr 17, 2016

I agree with avatar! regarding Ys Seven vs. Celceta, but the former was a 2009 release and not eligible for the given question! big_smile

Ramza Apr 18, 2016

I actually REALLY liked Celceta, and I know some people were heavily disappointed with all the weirdness and retcon-ing to make an adventure out of "hey y'know how you ALMOST pulled it off Adol? Go in again with amnesia and you'll figure it out."

But the music was top-notch jdk for me. Both the arrangements of Ys IV classics and the new stuff. That said, I never played either of the original Ys IV games, so I might be missing out.

Ys SEVEN was the game that broke the mold, though, by being the first multiplayer-ish game (done in the style of Secret of Mana or .hack, but with better AI). I have high hopes for Ys VIII.

(and, at the same time, I want an Ys V remake! It's the last one in the series that really "needs" one, in terms of accessibility.  Plus, an upgrade to that SNES classic soundtrack ... could go bad, but I think it would go real good)

Dragonfish Dog Apr 19, 2016

Ramza wrote:

Qui-Gon is right. Though the soundtrack to "The Cave" was okay, it's not nearly as good as the CAVE publications of the last half-decade. I think Akai Katana Shin makes the cut, and obviously DDP SDOJ does. And then there were two Mushihimesama albums, one of which was arranged by Ryu Umemoto (RIP).

Also, I love Qui-Gon's list. Great, great choices. Especially happy to see that Corpse Party representation. That US 2disc release with Blood Drive for Vita was a huge money-saver for collectors and the music is just so memorable, it's ridiculous.

See, this's exactly why I make topics like this, so I can find out about new stuff I never would've otherwise discovered!

Any of their albums/soundtracks that you'd recommend in particular?

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