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dynamic shapes (various samples) on a silent buss that triggers the side chain effect. A means to make sure an effect can be exaggerated and still keep it in check, frequency wise.
This practise along with the usual wet/dry setting structuring, is like a really interesting but highly delicate bit of designing. Very good in relation to trying to sculpt your verbed outputs.
Another kind of similar bit, is to have the same sound on a few diff channels and then making little tiny edits to each and making sure the sum doesn't go over what the individual og sound had in volume. It's a simpler approach but it's finnicky. All have their use.
OGLemon wrote:cowabunga dude
https://soundcloud.com/qloo/cowabunga-t ... o-sweeeeee
Johnlenham wrote:evil euroland
Blackdown: You have an original percussive style, both in timbre and arrangements. How did this come about?
Shackleton: Hard work. I love it, but it's really hard to chop-up and program the beats and then get them to flow so they sound organic. I'm reasonably pleased with the results so far. Bass is important, but, for me, there has to be more going on than just that. There's a guy called Chronomad that has got it going on like I want it, but I think he's actually playing the percussion and looping in. Mostly I'll get individual hits of a drum, then I'll feed them into different inputs, knock the tone off on some, add reverb on another, time-stretch another etc, so that I'm left with a range of different sounds that a single drum could produce. Then I normally loop a bassline and follow the bassline with the drum until I'm happy with the progress of that particular drum, then I'll do the same with some other percussion.
Now during the course of that, the impact of additional sounds will affect the initial dynamics, so that I'll have to go back and alter that, which in turn impacts on the rest. It's a long and laborious process and I can never remember what the tune sounds like because I'm not listening to it, I'm so caught up in looking at the tree that I can't see the forest!
So then I sit back and listen to the whole tune and start again. I know when the tune's finished when I can follow it all the way through and the progression of it doesn't jar with me instinctively. I know when the tune's good when I can go under the influence of it and it starts to give me a physical reaction or I end up looking at the speaker quizzically! I'm sure it's the same for all kinds of music. I see it as getting to grips with a language. You learn one aspect of the grammar, then you have to undo all that when you learn the next aspect. I'm still at the level of a toddler though, but I want to get better at it. Or do you mean for what reason do I make it as opposed to the nuts and bolts of it? There's never been a conscious thing to make it. I just like what I do, it rocks my boat.
zoronery frees the realness
BIG UP YOSELF HAN SORO
In the first episode of Inside the Beat we explore the sonic imaginations of Earl Sweatshirt and Vince Staples. Earl explores the trippy possibilities of producing sound, while Vince takes us on a lyrical journey of inspiration through his hometown, Long Beach, CA.
zoronery frees the realness
BIG UP YOSELF HAN SORO
King Unique – My Studio
This is the view looking left from the chair where I like to sit and pull my hair out about hi-hat patterns: lots of colourful good vibe stuff from my travels and exploits to remind me that it’s all worthwhile. Speaker cushions and and 808 sofa throw because I’m a sucker for music-themed décor; small potato plush from the time I got to dress as the potato mascot of a bar in Indonesia and get hugged by everyone. Good things to ponder on while you’re fretting about the strength of your swing quantise.
And here’s the view looking towards all the gear. Like most people, I do a lot of work in the box with software these days, so it made less and less sense to have a room full of dozens of synths I never used. I decided to sell the lot and use the money to buy just a few of the 70s synths I’d always drooled over.
I still can’t quite believe I own this. I dreamt about this synthesiser from the moment I heard the opening notes of the Blade Runner soundtrack. Whenever I walk into the studio and see it, my inner teenager does a backflip. Then my wallet does a backflip when I remember it needs servicing to fix the latest clutch of problems.
There’s so much myth and hype about the CS-80 that actually playing one can be an odd experience – simultaneously underwhelming yet also deeply satisfying. It’s just a synthesiser, and not a particularly deep one at that – but then it’s also one of the most expressively playable electronic instruments ever made. It’s only when you set all the controls to allow the sounds to respond to your lightest touch that you suddenly get the CS-80 thrills you’ve been waiting for. It does sound beautiful and plays like a dream (people generally fall in love the first time they stroke a finger down the felt ribbon controller & hear the note plunging through the octaves), but there’s one lesson I’ve taken away from having a CS-80. It’s that I don’t really need a CS-80 – but we could all use a better controller keyboard and sounds that respond very sensitively to it.
Rhodes Chroma & Custom ‘Chromatrol’
Despite the name, this has nothing to do with Rhodes pianos and everything to do with legendary US synth-maker ARP. This was their swan-song, an ambitious analogue super-synth with MIDI, memories, a real wooden piano keyboard and amazing sounds. It was released under the Rhodes name after ARP went into receivership.
Fast forward to today and it has a fanatical following (myself included) who between us have produced a new motherboard, a pressure sensitivity kit for the keys and numerous controllers that let you program and automate every single parameter of one of the great vintage analogue synths of all time. I built the ‘Chromatrol’ myself by hacksawing the end panels off a Behringer B-Control, cutting and varnishing new wooden end cheeks to match the Chroma’s and printing a custom front panel for the parameters. I shared the process with the Chroma community and now there are Chromatrols across the world.
Sound? Amazing, as good as the CS-80 (though ‘pokier’) and wildly more flexible. If I had to sell one or the other I might actually sell the CS-80! I know – heresy.
Eminent Grand Theatre 2000
This is in my living room at home for now, waiting to come up to the studio. It’s one of the last remaining bargains of the analogue world – a 1970s masterpiece that cost more than a car when it was new; you just need a lot of room. This one cost me £50. I just missed another that had gone to the tip. Eminent are best known for their Solina Strings keyboard – which costs around £700 these days – and this thing essentially has two of them built in, plus two organs, a cheesy-as-you-like boom-bip-tsssss analogue beatbox, a variety of preset 70s synth noises, arpeggiator, spring reverb and even a rudimentary filter. A truly gorgeous instrument that even includes its own lighting system; it’s the only thing I used on the No Makeup Mix of ‘7 Hours’. It’s also the sound of Jarre’s Oxygene and Equinoxe albums (though you’d want the 310U model if you’re being pernickety, but they all share the unmistakable Eminent sound).
If you want that Jarre sound you’ll also need one of these original 1970s Electro-Harmonix guitar pedals – some of the best ‘whoosh’ and ‘pzzowwww’ money can buy; I can stick anything through one of these and it’s instant psychedelic vintage vibes. The Small Stone is that sumptuous Jarre swirling string sound, and if you check out Spacemen 3’s ‘Ecstasy Symphony’ you can hear the Electric Mistress in all its slow-motion harmonic-howling heavenly glory.
Elka X705 Space Organ
It’s even called the Space Organ. COME ON, PEOPLE! WHAT ELSE DO YOU NEED TO KNOW? Even the original shop posters for it showed it on the moon with spaceships flying past it. If you own one, or even touch one, you should go and order a tie-dye cape immediately, you fucking tripped-out hippy waster. Ye,s I own one. Yes, I own the original poster too. What?
There are plenty of wonderful software copies of tape echoes these days but if you want a really shatty strangled ‘GLOWMP – glowmp – glomp – gmp’ echo you can’t beat the real thing, the older and cheaper the better. I love my Watkins so much that I initially used the name as an alias for my solo work. And then got Charlie Watkins’ phone number and rang him up to tell him how much I loved it. Fascinating man – he was inventing and selling guitars, amps, keyboards and of course Copicats throughout the British pop explosion of the 60s and did the sound at the Isle Of Wight festival on his own home-made PA. His early valve Copicats are worth a mint these days. This is a transistor model but still plenty of filthy character. Not changing the tape loop helps.
Afro Ken stickers
Because there’s only so long you can spend staring at studio gear before you need to see a Japanese dog with a variety of unlikely hair styles. This applies equally when working in the studio or reading Attack Magazine.
This is another of my dream-team keyboards, the Farfisa Syntorchestra. Not a Rolls Royce of an instrument like the CS-80 and Chroma but a cheap polyphonic ‘synth’ (more of an organ/string machine really) with a crude monosynth attached. It took two years to find this one and another three months to convince the New York seller to ship it overseas. My obsession springs from Ashra’s seminal 1976 New Age Of Earth LP, where it provides the majority of the achingly beautiful and unmistakably 70s sounds (alongside an EKO Computerhythm and an EMS VCS3). I never did get my hands on an EKO (good thing, too, as you wouldn’t get much change out of a gold-plated kidney if you did), but the VCS3 however…
This is it – the Vicar Of Wibbley, the spirit molecule in synthesiser form – the VCS3. Just look at it! It sounds even better. The oscillators on this thing are flawless, pure waveshapes from subsonic to ultrasonic, but everything else about it is bat-shit crazy. If you want to play a tune, don’t bother; if you want to bend minds, grab a pin and start playing Battleships.
I got a bit obsessed with EMS at one point, to be honest, collecting the rare rack units – the random noise generator and 8-octave filter bank. Then MOTU’s Volta software, which lets you fire any voltage signal you can think of out your soundcard, made me question the sanity of owning a couple of £800 boxes that could do a hundredth as much. So I stuck them on eBay, where they were bought by Tom from the Chemical Brothers – and before you ask, yes, of course I stalked his recent purchase feedback to see what else he was buying.
Korg Mono/Poly & ‘Soft’ Synths
The Korg Mono/Poly is a tank, both sonically and physically, and my ‘go-to’ monosynth for years. It can do simple sequencing tricks by stepping through each of its four oscillators in turn, squealing acidic ring modulation, naïve-sounding one-finger rave chords and all the fun things you’d expect from a four oscillator synth. It’s currently competing for workspace with my synth cushions, including a custom-built VCS3 from the synth-seamstress herself, Lucy Sparrow (Sew Your Soul). My girlfriend doesn’t fuck about when it comes to presents.
At one point the studio was drowning in keyboards so I sold lots of them off and used the money to buy the VCS3 and CS-80. These are the last of the old collection that I can’t bring myself to part with, stood against the wall and gathering dust. There’s an Ensoniq EPS-16+ sampler, Korg DSS-1 sampler and my Kawai K4. The EPS was my first sampler – I still have draws of disks full of samples for it. It’s also one of the most creative samplers ever made, even in this era of software instruments. There are all kinds of looping options, modulation of the start and end points by envelopes and LFOs, and Ensoniq’s Transwaves technology which means that it can do the sort of tricks that gave the PPG Wave its unusual character, but using samples rather than wavetables as the sound source.
The DSS-1 is another lovely oddball, a sampler with a proper analogue VCF and a silly ‘draw your own waveform’ function where you wiggle a slider wildly as a progress bar inches across the tiny display. Anything outside the ordinary subtractive-synth architecture is just catnip for me. It also makes the best ‘laser harp’ osc-sync sound outside of the Elka Synthex – absolutely monumental.
I’ve pulled this one out of the ‘graveyard’ as it’s pretty special to me. Aged 18 years old, I was wasting my time at university with no idea what to do with my life and a big fat rent cheque burning a hole in my pocket. I spent the year’s rent on this instead; went back to my room, put my headphones on and about 24 hours later went to bed. Never attended another lecture, just sat and taught myself synthesis and songwriting until they threw me out. Some of the strangest filters on a synth ever: glassy, shrieking things that I’ve never heard on anything else.
Arturia Spark LE
Anyway, who gives a shit about synths and melodies and music? It’s 2015, mate – it’s all about the sick beats, bro. This is my latest purchase, great for tapping out rhythms or writing them in on the old faithful 808-style sequencer. I played with the software demo for a while and found it disrupted my usual work methods very pleasingly, so went ahead and bought it. It makes me forget about chords for a while and fits in my travel bag – this one’s coming on tour.
Raagini & Riyaz Master
Back in the 90s I used to attend lunchtime recitals given by classical Indian soloists in Liverpool. Typically they would be playing sitar, violin or Carnatic flute for about an hour, accompanied only by a tanpura player providing a steady lulling drone of plucked sitar-like tones. My world changed the day one of the performers brought in an electric-tanpura. It resembled a Bakelite radio that simply droned out four oscillators in a steady rising and fading pattern that would’ve made Boards of Canada dribble; it certainly got me moist. Consequently a few years later I spent a day rattling round tiny remote villages in Goa by taxi, trying to find myself one; I’ll leave you to imagine my euphoric state when I also found electronic tablas.
I like taking studio toys into DJ booths and this straddles both worlds. Most of Pioneer’s DJ effects are basically idiot proof; it’s very hard to actually do something so awful and ugly that people are going to stop dancing. That’s not the case here; the RMX-1000 can do really complicated stuff – grabbing loops, then routing the loops through the effects while leaving the tracks dry or vice versa, pitching sections of audio up and down, layering drum patterns – with the end result that you can make the most incredible creative moments or the most appalling mess. I love that about it; it actually requires some learning & practice to get the best out of it. I used it on my recent Beyond Borders: London mix album to provide most of the effects and some re-edits and variations.
Just shy of half a billion years old and collected from the limestone cliffs down the road from the studio. My kids bring all the best stuff home but I’m allowed to keep the cast-offs at the studio. Sometimes we find a rock with coloured fragments of the actual shell inside; not fossilised but simply encapsulated inside the stone and still as fragile as the day they sat at the bottom of the ocean, 480 million years ago. Makes you think.
zoronery frees the realness
BIG UP YOSELF HAN SORO
Inside the mind of Ron Morelli. In the latest episode of RA‘s Exchange series of conversations with the artists, labels and promoters behind electronic music, Ron Morelli talks about his label L.I.E.S., which he purports to specialise in “music for shut-ins” and to have started simply to release great music by his friends since 2010.
zoronery frees the realness
BIG UP YOSELF HAN SORO
The Synth Cave Of Alessandro Cortini. An interview with one of the few mainstream experimental synthesists, who tours and works in the studio with Nine Inch Nails. SonicState talk with Alessandro Cortini about the equipment he uses with NIN and in his solo work: a massive Buchla system, Roland MC-202, Elektron Oktatrack, the EMS VCS3 and Synthi AKS
zoronery frees the realness
BIG UP YOSELF HAN SORO
http://createdigitalmusic.com/2015/04/l ... ystem-100/Roland’s Previous Modular: System-100. Following recent reports about Roland‘s forthcoming modular synth, shown above, CreateDigitalMusic remembers that Roland has done modular before – in the form of products including the System 100 of the late 70s, and the Synthesizer-101. The idea was to put a full-featured mono synth with a keyboard at the centre, and for additional modules to be patched in for more creative sound design options
With widespread reports that Roland will soon have a new modular product, it’s worth remembering: Roland has done modular before.
That legacy carried the name System-100. The original 100 semi-modular lineup of the late 70s, and the Synthesizer-101, might actually be more relevant today than it was when it first shipped. The clever concept here was to put a full-featured monosynth with a keyboard at the center, then add modules around it. That seems to make loads of sense to me, as it creates a playable instrument that can nonetheless be patched for more creative sound design options. The full line even included speakers, in a triumph of all-in-one industrial design; the modular components and speakers interlocked into a single cabinet.
Producer Björn Fogelberg jams a bit with the 101′s sample & hold circuitry, for a sense of what this beast is like to play. And have a listen to the sound: you could argue that this is one of the best-sounding instruments Roland ever built.
The 100m is probably a more appropriate model for whatever is coming from Roland next, but check out the stunning industrial design on the original System 100. This might inspire a custom Eurorack cabinet with keyboard, or two. Photo (CC-BY Notreshuggie.
The 100 was followed by the System 100m starting in 1979, produced through 1984 – see the vintage Roland ad at top for a look at what the modules were like. And here we have something that would look very much at home among Eurorack module offerings today; the design and layout are even similar. The 100m was a true modular system, rather than a semi-modular design as the Synthesizer-101 and companion components were. The notion was, as with today’s modulars, that you’d combine individual components into the instrument you wanted – oscillator, amplifier, mixer, envelope, filter, modulation, and so on.
There are some clues in the 100m line of what we might see in future from Roland. Apart from distinctive look and feel and interface design conventions, Roland’s 100m had some signature sound processors. The Ring Mod, Phase Shifter, and Sample & Hold might each make some appearance – and some sort of sequencer would be a no-brainer too.
Roland’s somewhat confusingly-named AIRA SYSTEM-1 made a nod to that history, though the actual design had nothing to do with it. I think whatever may be next from Roland will have something to do with the 100m. (And I can speculate freely, as I know nothing.)
But the 100m is worth a look, either way. Here’s a play on it filmed at the University of Huddersfield:
And, of course, don’t forget the mother of them all, the expansive System 700. While less likely to be a model for the AIRA offerings, it is a reminder of the days when Roland’s flagship synths were covered in patch cords.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: if only these beautiful antiques could have neon green on them, AIRA style. Okay, no, that’s probably not at all what you’re thinking.
But I think the sound modeling guts of the SYSTEM-1 have some real potential for more instruments from Roland. And I think the design of the 100/100m could well be a legacy worth building on. Any Roland entry into modular is unlikely to disrupt the existing boutique makers: part of the allure of modular is finding unique designs and archaic analog circuitry and digital code, the very opposite of what a builder like Roland represents. But if Roland has done a good job with this design, there’s no reason the two couldn’t coexist.
That might not strike your fancy if you only know the recent Roland, and haven’t really dug into some of the sounds the AIRA SYSTEM-1 can make (in its original, default mode), or if you don’t know the history of the System-100. But… if you do, you just might be watching for what happens at Roland’s booth at Musikmesse. Just days left, so get your advance speculating / ranting / trolling in now, while you still can.
zoronery frees the realness
BIG UP YOSELF HAN SORO
April 2015 [Self Published]
Some things to consider when thinking about releasing records in 2015.
Five years ago we released our first record on Butterz, by Terror Danjah: The Bipolar EP. Most of the questions I get asked about via email and on my travels is how to start a label. I’m not necessarily a good example of how to do it now, especially five years on, but I’ll share my experience, failures and successes across this piece and hopefully it can give you an insight into how we got off the ground.
The formations of the label begun in Mid 2009 just after I finished my Marketing Degree. At the same time as looking for full time employment Skilliam and I were on Rinse FM a couple of times a week playing a lot of music that wasn’t being released by anyone and if it was, it was isolated in terms of its reach. We (Skilliam, Terror Danjah & I) spoke constantly about how Grime (to us) could be seen as another form of electronic music and should be placed alongside similar like minded entities like Hyperdub and Tempa with that level of presentation and distribution rather than as just an Urban art form. The problem was not that there wasn’t quality music, it’s just not enough people were hearing it.
At the time Dubstep was the biggest music around us, it dominated club line ups across the country, FWD>>, Rinse FM, and had a massive following across the world with producers and DJs who did basically the same thing as us reaching loads of people week in week out with music in and around 140 BPM. Some of the DJs outside of the traditional Grime scene played music I shared with them, like Kode 9 & Skream but I felt like we needed a home for all the music we were playing, and the new producers we were introducing.
At the time, only Logan’s Earth 616 and No Hats No Hoods were releasing Grime on vinyl as people had moved towards CD or digital only releases. When we played out, and when I went to watch loads of other DJs play, they still used vinyl, and Skilliam and I personally wanted that physical side to our brand. Otherwise it wouldn’t have made that bold statement we needed to get the attention of guys outside of the usual reach of the scene.
Terror Danjah begun creating the first release, while DK sorted the artwork and I costed what 300 records would set us back. We didn’t have much money to get it off the ground, so to reduce start up costs we made the label two colours instead of four. Black & Yellow, and that’s why the brand stuck with it for so long. I submitted the completed EP in November scheduling for a January 2010 launch. We hyped it for 8 weeks, and the vinyl returned with a pressing error and we had to start the whole process again and we waited another 8 weeks to get finished copies. We didn’t even have a distribution deal. We sold direct on our big cartel, and I took to Rhythm Division, Uptown Records, BM Soho and a few other shops which are all now closed and the 300 eventually sold after some good press and via the followers of the radio show we were starting to get a really strong following on Rinse FM. At the same time Terror had two other records out via Planet Mu and Hyperdub and we gained a lot of exposure from people discovering us that way.
What really set apart that record was that we released the stems to ‘Air Bubble’ the most well received track on the EP and invited people to do remixes. We got about 300 in the space of a couple of months from all over the world, which made me realise most of the people that listened to the show were producers and artists too. We released a few more records that year that kept things afloat, making us enough money to keep putting records out and doing cool shit until we learned the best way of working. Terror Danjah + Kode 9 helped us get a distribution deal so they could get our records to stores and digital platforms that summer and we still put in our own money for all the vinyl that came out which was a struggle.
Most people at that time had a press and distribution deal which meant the distributor paid for the pressing of the records. The responsibility was left in your hands to deliver the music and do the promotion. It’s not too different from how major labels work. It acts as a loan for you to be free to spend money how you think you can sell it via the shops. The advantage we had doing it ourselves is that we could sell the majority direct, not have to wait for money to return and continue reinvesting in people that came later like Royal-T & Swindle. The process would have been a lot slower if we had to greenlight records with our distribution company before putting them out. Across the five years that we have been operating, distributors have been closing regularly as sales have tumbled and the remaining distributors are not as open to this kind of deal any more, or at least certainly not to people just starting out.
Selling a few hundred records here and there makes little to no impact in the underground and that wasn’t the point of releasing them. It was the accompany the wider narrative of what we were attempting to do: Bring Grime to the clubs. So alongside the records came a thought out promo campaign, videos, interviews, mixes, parties. As much as we could do to establish the people we were releasing as artists online and on the live circuit. It isn’t something I see enough people doing at the moment. You see the impact of this reflected in club line ups too. It’s usually the people and labels that put time into promoting themselves that you see breaking through.
At the top of 2011 our second year, we released Woooo Riddim which sold a lot more than we expected (over 2000 copies) as it was already available digitally for some time. It helped the first releases from Royal-T & Swindle on the label reach a lot more people than they might have. It then gave us the option for that press and distribution option from our distributors for future releases (thats why the following releases ‘Boo You’ and ‘I Am’ had sleeved covers instead which are nearly £300 more per release). We released quite a few more records that year, that all did relatively well beyond unit sales in terms of getting us all out there DJing, and doing club nights and establishing Butterz as a label to look out for.
Fast forward a few years, and the climate has totally changed. When we were forming the label there weren’t as many platforms to even hear this music. Boiler Room, NTS and Mixcloud hadn’t started and the kind of beast that the big Youtube Channels have become where only just beginning to build. Most of the shops we originally sold quite a lot of records in are gone. Dubstep (and UK Bass Music as a whole) as a vinyl based music has moved on and a few but not many Grime orientated labels have come along and released music too. The CDJ2000 is in most clubs with most DJs using USBs, and Technic 1210s, the industry standard for playing records in the clubs have stopped being manufactured. The already small and saturated market is tougher than ever. But there is still room for great records to be sold.
Small labels releasing vinyl is important and one of the best ways to set you apart from the free download culture that we are in at the moment. Looking back one of the key things that kept us afloat at the start was the communication we had with people that were listening to the show and actually buying our records. That is the most valuable element about what we do. I’ve never felt we have pressed a record that people haven’t asked for. A lot of people approach releasing records like there are people just sitting at the other end of the computer waiting to spend money on whatever people release. There aren’t, well certainly buying Grime, and if there are, we should still be giving them a great product, considering the amounts people are spending on them these days compared to digital music. That way of working usually leaves labels with tons of unsold vinyl and an unwillingness to press again. It may take you longer to figure out if 500 people want to buy each record, but it makes the process worthwhile for yourself and your artists being 100% sure on each and every release.
Today we are connected to so many people, use this to your advantage. Some close ears around you and show them the proposed record. Take on critical feedback from people you respect before you commit. Skilliam and I have always had filters. If it is just you or one other person A&Ring it is easy to get tunnel vision and put out product only you think is good.
Once you have decided on the tracks you want to release after submitting for manufacturing you have about ten weeks to wait before you get finished product in your hands. In that time plan as many ways for the record to get heard as possible. A lot of people find this part uncomfortable but there is no out of the box solution to promoting music, even though many people will tell you otherwise. Be proactive, but in a way that’s honest to you. We have done things like launch parties, music videos, remix competitions, technical breakdowns, documentaries and more. Without those elements, even if you manage to shift an amount of records, it may just stop there in terms of the opportunities you get in music.
It is a lot of work, but I enjoy all elements of putting them together. We may have to do significantly less than people want, but i’ve enjoyed the process of releasing all the records so far. If you think a particular record (and artist!) is worthy of that 10 weeks worth of work to launch, go for it.
zoronery frees the realness
BIG UP YOSELF HAN SORO
like wtf are you listening to vapourwave for if you're looking for some traditional band music
and i know you got strong views on sampling
seemed odd to listen to that weird ass album and be like 'oh i hope the dude making this was playing a really old keyboard instead of using some synth samples'
kind of a minor i guess
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