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At first glance, October’s release schedule may not appear to be the embarrassment of riches that September’s was, but looks can be deceiving. While there may not be as many top-of-the-marquee titles in October, with the exception of Taylor Swift’s Red, there’s a real depth and breadth to the offerings in a wide array of genres. The range of intriguing albums is impressive, from cutting-edge experimentalist Flying Lotus’ latest to Americana traditionalist Iris DeMent’s first album in a long time, from potential breakthroughs by hip-hop up-and-comers Kendrick Lamar and Meek Mill to new work from opera’s biggest stars, Placido Domingo and Cecilia Bartoli. Getting in a last hurrah on the calendar before the holidays, indie, in particular, is well represented, with new records by in-their-prime acts like the Mountain Goats, Titus Andronicus, and A.C. Newman. That’s not even mentioning the likes of Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Death Grips, and Andrew Bird double dipping with their second albums of the year—or third, in the case of Ty Segall. And when you include a 63-disc Johnny Cash retrospective set and the six-disc The Velvet Underground and Nico 45th anniversary reissue, October’s slate of releases does indeed runneth over.


 

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Flying Lotus

Until the Quiet Comes

(Warp; US: 2 Oct 2012; UK: 1 Oct 2012)

Review [2.Oct.2012]
Flying Lotus
Until the Quiet Comes


It’s appropriate that advance copies of Flying Lotus’ Until the Quiet Comes came as a single 47-minute piece, because, more than most albums, it demands to be heard as a complete whole from beginning to end. When listened to in this way, you’d be hard pressed to figure out where to chop up the individual tracks, as Steven Ellison masterfully blends chilled-out electronica tones, deconstructed hip-hop rhythms, and a free jazz ethos to the point that each element is indecipherable on its own terms and becomes a component of a hybrid genre all his own. So while the guest spots by Erykah Badu on “See Thru to U” and long-time admirer Thom Yorke on the android paranoid “Electric Candyman” would seem to be the picks to click, it says something about FlyLo’s vision that their distinctive voices are subsumed into his fully immersive composition. Everything has its own place and context on Until the Quiet Comes, as the whole thing ebbs and flows from moods of gentle euphoria to impending doom to oceanic contemplation without ever wandering away from the bigger picture. Arnold Pan


Flying Lotus - “Putty Boy Strut”


 

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The Mountain Goats

Transcendental Youth

(Merge; US: 2 Oct 2012; UK: 8 Oct 2012)

Review [3.Oct.2012]
The Mountain Goats
Transcendental Youth


It goes without saying that John Darnielle is among the most prolific of songwriters today if you were to simply measure the sheer volume of the Mountain Goats’ archive of full-lengths, seven-inch singles, tape-only recordings, and other ephemera—supposedly around 600 songs’ worth, according to the press release for Transcendental Youth. And yet, Darnielle’s deep wellspring of creativity may actually surpass the size of his back catalog: after who knows how many albums, it is truly astonishing that Darnielle still has something to say, much less that he says it so well without repeating himself. Continuing in the more listener-friendly trajectory Darnielle has been headed, Transcendental Youth is a full, well-rounded effort that’s as catchy as the Mountain Goats have ever been, especially on tracks like the brass-coated “Cry for Judas” and the Lemonheads-y “Harlem Roulette”. But while the addition of a horn section and the generally smoother vocals bring a new level of veneer to Transcendental Youth, it’s the timeless essence of the Mountain Goats’ music that keeps you transfixed, as Darnielle travels on in search of redemption and meaning, telling a story that can be told over and over again because its plot is always changing and you care how it ends. Arnold Pan


The Mountain Goats - “Harlem Roulette” (live)


 

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Pinback

Information Retrieved

(Temporary Residence; US: 16 Oct 2012; UK: 22 Oct 2012)

Review [17.Oct.2012]
Pinback
Information Retrieved


Pinback has just been one of those bands quietly plugging along, with a devout following rewarded—every few years or so—with another pretty much flawless record. Information Retrieved is their fifth and latest of these flawless records, and once again shows that the quietest rock band (or loudest pop band?) can still ramp up a whole lot of power. The way the fragile vocals and quiet beat of “Proceed to Memory” swells and expands into a panoramic sound of beautiful vocal harmonies and deep hooks is trademark Pinback, while setting a new high-water mark for the band. Not that they can’t tighten up and deliver a lean pop number—see “Glide” or “Drawstring”—but Information Retrieved is excellent because it meshes the mood of Blue Screen Life with the more expansive palette and pristine production of their last record, Autumn of the Seraph. Rob Crow still cranks out subtly brilliant riffs that are alternately shadows and then sunbursts behind his honeyed voice, while Zach Smith spins ever tightening coils around him with his bone-dry yet funky bass work. It’s hard to believe, listening to this maximalist pop gem, that there aren’t a dozen or so members of this band, but there’s not. There’s just the incredible talent of Crow and Smith, who can break our heart with the spacey balladry of “Diminished” and then lure us back in with the hypnotic chug of “True North”. For a band that doesn’t misfire, that this album is great is no surprise. That it somehow simultaneous affirms the strength of Pinback’s sound and reinvents it? That’s the surprise, and true joy, of Information Retrieved. Matthew Fiander


Pinback - “Proceed to Memory”


 

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P.O.S.

We Don’t Even Live Here

(Rhymesayers; US: 23 Oct 2012; UK: 22 Oct 2012)

P.O.S.
We Don’t Even Live Here


P.O.S. has worked with Gayngs and last year put out a great crew album with his Minnesota hip-hop collective Doomtree. We Don’t Even Live Here is his first solo album since 2009’s Never Better. That album was his most focused, volatile release yet, but if that sounded like P.O.S. at the height of his game, We Don’t Even Live Here proves he can climb plenty higher. He is, as you’d expect, dropping some seriously smooth flows all the way through the record, from the quickfire opener “Bumper” (where he assures us “they on some nonsense, we on some non-stop”) and the anti-grind “Fuck Your Stuff”, from the fiery declaration of “Lockpicks, Knives, Bricks and Bats” to the club-bumping edge of the title track. Each song combines another tangent in P.O.S.‘s protean style with his most varied set of beats to date. Even as he chastises rap culture for its excess in a recession, he borrows and reshapes club beats (see the chopped-up “Thriller” pulse of “They Can’t Come”) and twists auto-tune R&B into something not only now listenable, but fascinating on the Justin Vernon-assisted “Where We Land”. Oddly enough, We Don’t Even Live Here is the sound of P.O.S. firming up his own unique ground in hip-hop, a place with wide borders and filled with sounds shaped by his myriad other musical projects. He’s long been one of our most surprising and rewarding emcees, and his new album seeks to also solidify him as one of the best working. Well, in all its non-stop energy, charming irreverence, and clear-eyed conviction, it does just that. Matthew Fiander


P.O.S. - “Fuck Your Stuff”


 

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Ty Segall

Twins

(Drag City; US: 9 Oct 2012; UK: 8 Oct 2012)

Review [28.Oct.2012]
Ty Segall
Twins


It’s been a hell of a busy year for Ty Segall. After Hair, his excellently hazed-out collaboration with White Fence, and the thundering wall of fuzz that was Slaughterhouse (released under the Ty Segall Band), now he’s back with his proper solo follow-up to Goodbye Bread. Anyone worried about quality control can rest easy, because Twins is a top-to-bottom great record, one that solidifies Segall as one of our most consistent—and yet still charmingly eccentric—songwriters. The album has the pop leanings of Goodbye Bread, but its heady textures and thick fuzz both show the influence of his most recent work and hearken back to 2010’s lo-fi gem Melted. Opener “Thank God For Sinners” is all jangle pop until blistering guitars blast it wide open. “The Hill” takes sweet pastoral vocal harmonies and tosses them into a start-and-stop garage rock onslaught. “Gold on the Shore” is an acoustic respite from all the jagged riffage of the bulk of Twins, and while it represents the most fragile departure here, it shows us the sweet melodies hidden under all that wide-eyed power-chord frenzy. Twins is undeniably Segall’s sound, but also has an impressive breadth of layers and shifts to it. You’ll be happy to let those guitars and rumbling drums incite tinnitus at every turn, even as you try to figure out just what to call this—garage pop? Psych-sludge-rock-bliss? Segall-pop? Whatever you call it, be sure to also call it another gauzy win for Segall. Matthew Fiander


Ty Segall - “The Hill”


 

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Titus Andronicus

Local Business

(XL; US: 23 Oct 2012; UK: 22 Oct 2012)

Review [21.Oct.2012]
Titus Andronicus
Local Business


You wouldn’t think punch-drunk bar-rockers like Titus Andronicus could moonlight as modern-day philosophers, but between taking their name from a Shakespeare play (the one best known for cannibalism) and referencing Nietzsche for the title of Local Business’ opening number, “Ecce Homo”, you get the idea that they think too much for their own good. Indeed, Titus Andronicus typifies what Nietzsche meant by Dionysian art, its music thrillingly chaotic, antagonistic to social niceties, and always on the verge of completely spinning out of control. But even when spouting off lines like “Okay, I think we’ve now established / Everything is inherently worthless / Then there’s nothing in the universe with any kind of objective purpose,” it’s misleading to think that Titus Andronicus—like its philosophical touchstone—is self-destructively nihilistic, because its music is so vital that it’s about finding a way to live life more fully. After all, frontman Patrick Stickles wouldn’t have so much to talk about, from pondering car crashes to eating disorders to consumer overconsumption, if the goal wasn’t to shed his baggage and to go on searching for something of worth and value, even if he’s coming at the issues bass ackwards sometimes. With a less fussy production and more streamlined compositions, Titus Andronicus’ message comes through louder and clearer than before on Local Business, making it feel more urgent and profound than ever. Arnold Pan


Titus Andronicus - “In a Big City”


 

Selected Releases for October 2012
(Release dates subject to change)


October 2


Tori Amos, Gold Dust (Deustche Grammophone/Mercury)
AxeWound, Vultures (The End)
Balmorhea, Stranger (Western Vinyl)
Cecilia Bartoli, Mission (Decca)
California Wives, Art History (Vagrant)
Dark Dark Dark, Who Needs Who (Supply and Demand)
Iris DeMent, Sing the Delta (Flariella)
Mark Eitzel, Don’t Be a Stranger Now (Merge)
Ensiferum, Unsung Heroes (Ingrooves)
ERAAS, ERAAS (Felte)
Fennesz, Fa 2012 (Editions Mego)
GANGI, gesture is (Office of Analogue and Digital)
Rayna Gellert (Uncle Earl), Old Light (Story Sound)
Generationals, Lucky NumbersEP (self-released)
Hannah Georgas, Hannah Georgas (Dine Alone)
The Giving Tree Band, Vacilador (Crooked Creek)
Heart, Fanatic (Legacy)
Ralph “Soul” Jackson, The Alabama Love Man (The Rabbit Factory)
Michael Johnson, Moonlit Déjà vu (Red House)
Dave King Trio, I’ve Been Ringing You (Sunnyside)
Diana Krall, Glad Rag Doll (Verve)
Kendrick Lamar , Good Kid, m.A.A.d. City (Interscope)
James Levy and the Red Rose, Pray to Be Free (Heavenly)
Cher Lloyd, Sitcks and Stones (Epic)
Tim Maia, Nobody Can Live Forever: The Existential Soul Of Tim Maia (Luaka Bop)
Marillion, Sounds That Can’t Be Made (Eagle Rock)
Maserati, Maserati VII (Temporary Residence)
Matt & Kim, Lightning (Fader)
Maus Haus, Light Noise EP (Lavish Habits)
Maybeshewill, I Was There for a Moment, Then I Was Gone (Function)
Donny McCaslin, Casting for Gravity (Greenleaf)
MellowHype, Numbers (Odd Future)
Tift Merritt, Traveling Alone (Yep Roc)
MI-GU, Choose the Light (Chimera)
Miguel, Kaleidoscope Dream (RCA)
Moon Duo, Circles (Sacred Bones)
Van Morrison, Born to Sing: No Plan B (Blue Note)
Muse, The 2nd Law (Warner Bros.)
Oak Ridge Boys, Gospel Gems (AAO)
Lindi Ortega, Cigarettes and Truck Stops (Last Gang)
Beth Orton, Sugaring Season (ANTI-)
The Piano Guys, The Piano Guys (Sony Masterworks)
Tristan Prettyman, Cedar + Gold (Capitol)
Simian Mobile Disco, A Form Of Change EP (Wichita)
Bill Staines, Beneath Some Lucky Star (Red House)
Steve Bug, Noir (Poker Flat)
Sun Airway, Soft Fall (Dead Oceans)
Taken By Trees, Other Worlds (Secretly Canadian)
Tilly and the Wall, Heavy Mood (Team Love)
The Tragically Hip, Now for Plan A (Rounder)
Frank Turner, Last Minutes & Lost Evenings (Epitaph)
Two Door Cinema Club, Beacon (Glassnote)
Ultraísta, Ultraísta (Temporary Residence)
Bry Webb, Provider (Idee Fixe)
Andre Williams, Life (Alive)
The Zolas, Ancient Mars (self-released)


October 9


All Time Low, Don’t Panic (Hopeless)
Almost Charlie, Tomorrow’s Yesterday (Words on Music)
Angus Burns Red, Sleddin’ Hill (Solid State)
Beach Boys, Fifty Big Ones: Greatest Hits (Capitol)
Between the Buried and Me, Parallax II: Future Sequence (Metal Blade)
Bilirubin, Unprepared (Formresonance)
The Birthday Massacre, Hide and Seek (Metropolis)
Black Marble, A Different Arrangement (Hardly Art)
Black Moth Super Rainbow, Cobra Juicy (Rad Cult)
Blus Aus Nord, 777 (Seasons of Mist)
Borngruber and Struver , Urlaub / In G (M=Minimal)
John Cale , Shifty Adventures in Nookie Wood (Double 6)
Callers, Reviver (Partisan)
Channel X, Wonderland (Stil Vor Talent)
Chrome Canyon Elemental Themes (Stones Throw)
Coheed and Cambria, Afterman: Ascension (Xenon)
Converge, All We Love We Leave Behind (Epitaph)
Dio, The Very Beast of Dio, Vol. 2 (Niji)
Django Django, Django Django (Ribbon)
E.L.O., Mr. Blue Sky: The Very Best (Frontiers)
Martin Eden, Dedicate Function (Lefse)
Enslaved, Riitiir (Nuclear Blast)
The Everymen, New Jersey Hardcore (Killing Horse)
Dana Falconberry, Leelanau (Antenna Farm)
Freelance Whales, Diluvia (Mom+Pop)
Stefan Goldmann, 17:50 (Macro)
Holly Golightly and the Brokeoffs, Sunday Run Me Over (Transdreamer)
Ellie Goulding, Halcyon (Cherrytree/Interscope)
Graph Rabbit, The Snowblind EP (Butterscotch)
Grass Roots, Grass Roots (AUM Fidelity)
Hidden Orchestra, Archipelago (Tru Thoughts)
Wanda Jackson, Unfinished Business (Sugar Hill)
Kaki King, Glow (Velour)
Kiss, Monster (Mercury)
Krushai, Raybans and Ropechains 2: A Hip-Hop Perspective (mixtape)
Kumbia Queers, Pecados Tropicales (Comfortzone)
Lang Lang, The Chopin Album (Sony Masterworks)
Lord Huron, Lonesome Dreams (IAMSOUND)
Kermit Lynch, Donuts and Coffee (Lynchmusic)
Jeff Lynne, Long Wave (Frontiers)
Macklamore & Ryan Lewis, The Heist (Macklamore)
Metz, Metz (Sub Pop)
My Jerusalem, Preachers (The End)
Meshell Ndegeocello, Pour Une Âme Souveraine: A Dedication to Nina Simone (Naïve)
A.C. Newman, Shut Down the Streets (Matador)
Night Moves, Colored Emotions (Domino)
Nonpoint, Nonpoint (Razor & Tie)
Old 97s, Too Far to Care 15th Anniversary Edition (Omnivore)
Old Time Machine, Old Time Machine (File Under Music)
Tunji Oyelana, A Nigerian Retrospective 1966-79 (Soundway)
The Pyramids, Otherworldly (Disko B)
Royal Trux, Accelerator Reissue (Drag City)
Benjamin Schoos, China Man Vs. China Girl (Virtual)
Darrell Scoot and Tim O’Brien, We’re Usually a Lot Better Than This (Full Light)
Ty Segall, Twins (Drag City)
Barbra Streisand, Release Me (Columbia)
Tame Impala, Lonerism (Modular)
Terakaft, Kel Tamasheq (World Village)
TOPS, Tender Opposites (Arbutus)
Trash Talk, 119 (Odd Future)
Tweak Bird, Undercover Crops EP (Volcom)
Suzanne Vega, Close-Up 4: Songs of Family
The Wallflowers, Glad All Over (Columbia)
Stian Westerhus, The Matriarch and the Wrong Kind of Flowers (Rune Grammophon)
WHY?, Mumps, etc. (Anticon)


October 16


A Fine Frenzy, Pines (Virgin)
Jason Aldean, Night Train (Broken Bow)
Trey Anastasio, Traveler (ATO)
Anberlin, Vital (Republic)
Beaten By Them Kinder Machines (Logicpole)
Blackbird Blackbird, Boracay Planet EP (Lavish Habits)
Boys Noize, Out of the Black (Boysnoize)
Brandy, Two Eleven (RCA)
Daphni (Caribou’s Dan Snaith), Jiaolong (Merge)
Dethlok, Dethalbum III (William Street)
Placido Domingo, Songs (Sony Masterworks)
Elina Duni Quartet, Matane Malit (EMI)
Donald Fagen, Sunken Condos (Reprise)
Rosie Flores, Working Girl’s Guitar (Bloodshot)
Benjamin Gibbard, Former Lives (Barsuk)
Ben Harper, By My Side (Virgin)
Indesinence, Vessels of Light and Decay (Profound Lore)
IO Echo, IO Echo EP (IAMSOUND)
John the Conqueror, John the Conqueror (Alive)
Jamey Johnson, Living for a Song: Tribute to Hank Cochran (Mercury Nashville)
K’naan, Country, God or the Girl (A&M/Octone)
Kalle Kalima & K-18, Out to Lynch (TUM)
King Dude, Burning Daylight (Dias)
Bill Laswell, Means of Deliverance (Innerhythmic)
The Luyas, Animator (Dead Oceans)
Shelby Lynne, Revelation Road Deluxe Edition (Everso)
Jason Lytle (of Grandaddy), Dept. of Disappearance (ANTI-)
Matmos, The Ganzfeld EP (Thrill Jockey)
Conor Maynard, Contrast (Capitol)
Mean Creek, Youth Companion (Old Flame)
Megadeth, Countdown to Extinction 20th Anniversary Edition (EMI)
Mika, The Origin of Love (Universal Republic)
Peace, The World Is Too Much with Us (Suicide Squeeze)
Philistines, Therewolves! (self-released)
Max Richter, Recomposed by Max Richter: Vivaldi: The Four Seasons (Deutsche Grammophon)
Esa-Pekka Salonen, Violin Concerto/Nyx (Deutsche Grammophon)
Savoir Adore, Our Nature (Red Eye/Popular)
Smoke & Jackal, EP1 (RCA)
Wadada Leo Smith and Louis Moholo-Moholo, Ancestors (TUM)
Ken Stringfellow, Danzig in the Moonlight (Spark & Shine)
Sylosis, Monolith (Nuclear Blast)
Tamaryn, Tender New Signs (Mexican Summer)
Various Artists, Kitsuné Maison 14 (Kitsuné)
Martha Wainwright, Come Home to Mama (Cooperative Music)
Hannah Williams & the Tastemakers, A Hill of Feathers (Record Kicks)
Patrick Wolf, Sundark and Riverlight (Bloody Chamber)
Yakuza, Beyul (Profound Lore)


October 23


The Amazing, Gentle Stream (Partisan)
...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, Lost Songs (Superball)
Paul Banks, Banks (Matador)
Anita Baker, Only Forever (Blue Note)
Peter Broderick, These Walls of Mine (Erased Tapes)
Colbie Caillat, Christmas in the Sand (Xenon)
Gary Clark Jr., Blak And Blu (Warner Bros.)
Death Grips, No Love Deep Web (Columbia)
Diamond Rings, Free Dimensional (Astralwerks)
Elephant 9 with Reine Fiske, Atlantis (Rune Grammophon)
Emil and Friends, Royal Oats EP (Kitsuné)
Peter Gabriel, So 25th Anniversary Edition (EMI)
GRMLN, Explore EP (Carpark)
Kopecky Family Band, Kids Raising Kids (self-released)
Kreidler, Den (Bureau B)
Luke Mitchem, Winter Kissing on the Spring (self-released)
Main Attrakionz, Bossalinis and Fooliyones (Young One)
Martina McBride, The Essential Martina McBride 2CD (RCA/Legacy)
Michael Mayer, Mantasy (Kompakt)
of Montreal, Daughter of Cloud (Polyvinyl)
Other Lives, Mind the Gap EP (tbd)
Pig Destroyer, Book Burner (Relapse)
Rah Rah, The Poet’s Dead (Hidden Pony)
Karriem Riggins, Alone Together (Stones Throw)
Rites of Spring, Six Song Demo (Dischord)
Run-DMC, The Essential Run-DMC 2CD (Arista/Profile/Legacy)
Will Samson, Balance (Karaoke Kalk)
Shiny Toy Guns, III (Five Seven)
Sinkane, Mars (DFA)
Sister Sin, Now and Forever (Victory)
Solid Gold, Eat Your Young (Totally Gross National Product)
Stone Sour, House of Gold & Bones, Part 1 (Roadrunner)
Swedish House Mafia, Until Now (Astralwerks)
Taylor Swift, Red (Big Machine)
Talk Normal, Sunshine (Joyful Noise)
U.S. Girls, GEM (FatCat)
Various Artists, Halo 4 OST & Remix Album (The End)
Wintersun, Time I (Nuclear Blast)


October 30


Atriarch, Ritual of Passing (Profound Lore)
Azari & III, Azari & III (Dim Mak)
Andrew Bird, Hands of Glory (Mom+Pop)
Jesse Boykins III and Melo-X, Zulu Guru (Ninja Tune)
Johnny Cash, The Complete Columbia Album Collection (63-Disc Set) (Legacy)
Cody ChesnuTT, Landing on a Hundred (Vibration Vineyard)
Cradle of Filth, Manticore and Other Horrors (Nuclear Blast)
The Crystal Ark, The Crystal Ark (DFA)
Earlimart, System Preferences (The Ship)
ESP, ESP EP (self-released)
Matthew Friedberger, Matricidal Sons of Bitches (Thrill Jockey)
Gabriel the Marine, Stars Collecting EP (Sun Pedal)
Goodiepal, Narc Beacon / Nag Nag Bacon (Fonal)
Indian Handcrafts, Civil Disobediance for Losers (Sargent House)
Kamelot, Silverthorn 2-CD Set (Steamhammer)
Lukid, Lonely at the Top (Werkdiscs)
Meek Mill, Dreams and Nightmares (Maybach Music Group)
Menahan Street Band, The Crossing (Dunham)
Nadja, Dagdrøm (Broken Spine)
Neurosis, Honor Found in Decay (Neurot)
Elvis Presley, Prince From Another Planet Deluxe Edition 2CD + DVD (RCA/Legacy)
Punks on Mars, Bad Expectations (Zoo)
RNDM (with Pearl Jam’s Jeff Ament), Acts (Monkey Wrench)
The Scenics, Dead Man Walks Down Bayview (Dream Tower)
Thrice, Anthology (Workhorse/Universal)
Tracy Thorn, Tinsel and Lights (Merge)
Various Artists, Only 4 U: The Sound of Cajmere & Casual Records, 1992-2012 (Strut)
The Velvet Underground, The Velvet Underground and Nico 45th Anniversary 6CD Box Set (Polydor)
Maia Vidal, God Is My Bike (Crammed Discs)
Wreckless Eric and Amy Rigby, A Working Museum (Southern Domestic)
Writer, Brotherface (RCRD LBL)
Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Psychedelic Pill (Reprise)

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