Posts Tagged ‘muzaks’

Sladerfluous: ‘Distant Reality’ by Shirobon

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You have to hear this album.

Press play below to fall in love with this powerful foray into 80s electronica, ‘Distant Reality’ by Shirobon.

Distant Reality by Shirobon

Released to the masses on Bandcamp February 4th, 2014, Shirobon’s ‘Distant Reality’ is a compact, delicious delve into cyberpunk that infuses you with flowing 80s-inspired synth, weighty bass lines and thoughtful lyrics.

The improvisational nature of the tracks in ‘Distant Reality’ do so much more than simply keep you guessing, they weave inspired transitions together with tell-tale 80s synth to set a mysterious cyberpunk mood that will make you wonder the results of your Voight-Kampff test.

‘Distant Reality’ is a set of 5 killer tracks that waste no time getting down into an 80s groove, embracing it with every single note. This is not a gimmick tacked onto a hacked-together string of ideas, the precision of execution and respect for the era come through loud and clear.

Impressive vocals across the album truly add to the atmosphere including Shirobon himself lending his own robotic vocals to “Regain Control”, “Perfect Machine” and “City Patrol (Stage B)”. “Immune”, however, introduces you to the world Shirobon has created with the unexpected and absolutely alluring vocals of Camden Cox. The weight of the lyrics equal the depth of the bass lines, and the result is beyond immersive.

‘Distant Reality’ tows melodies through inspired funk and synth elements with a directed, yet unpredictable approach to its composition: each change and volley into each new element during a given track on ‘Distant Reality’ feels like the most appropriate direction to shift into, but you simply don’t see it coming. Polished, experimental, and focused, ‘Distant Reality’ is a refreshing exploration of tone and theme in a sea of heartless electronica that deserves your £3 investment.

Shirobon was gracious enough to answer a few questions about his experiences building ‘Distant Reality’, and that interview continues below:

PixelRecall: Camden Cox’s vocals on “Immune” are gripping. How did the opportunity to work with her come about?

Shirobon: Thanks! I have actually known Camden Cox for quite some time. She also did vocals some time ago on my song “Running My Head“. She is a very talented vocalist! I have also produced a group of songs for her which will be released throughout the year!

PixelRecall: Where did you draw inspiration for your lyrics across the album?

Shirobon: These days I like to look up a lot of imagery before starting work on songs. I wanted to go for a Cyberpunk/Futuristic feel while keeping cool and introducing chiptune elements (More of the c64/Sega style) so naturally the lyrics reflect on that.

PixelRecall: The songs on ‘Distant Reality’, most notably with “Cyber Party”, have an engaging, almost improvisational feel to them. What is your creative process like when composing your music?

Shirobon: Well, when I work on a song I like to consider it jamming with myself (or in the case of “Cyber Party” with Radix!). So I would usually come up with some drums or a melody idea and then just jam over them. If it starts to sound good then I hit the record button and take it from there!

PixelRecall: Are you performing the vocals on “Regain Control”?

Shirobon: Yes, I’m a sucker for robotic vocals and love to use my voice when I can! (Also, it’s my voice on “Perfect Machine” and “City Patrol (Stage B)”.

PixelRecall: Did you have a “eureka” moment during the creation of the album you may not have expected to have?

Shirobon: I was having some trouble with “City Patrol (Stage B)” and couldn’t get it to feel good. It started off as a guitar/electro disco number. Before I gave up I thought I would make some changes and plugged in my modular synth and made some chip sounds, from there everything fell into place!

PixelRecall: Do you have a favourite memory from your experiences performing live?

Shirobon: I have had a lot of really fun times performing live and the crowds are always pretty intense, but i think one that stands out the most is when I had a large wall of death and saw this massive dude drop kick a girl in the face! But thankfully she was fine!

PixelRecall: Do you have any shows coming up?

Shirobon: I have a few! Playing at Nintendoom in Belgium which will be a lot of fun. I have quite a few coming up around Europe but i have yet to announce those…

PixelRecall: Any advice for aspiring chiptune artists?

Shirobon: Do it because you love it, not because you wanna make it (big). Popularity in the scene comes and goes but the artists that people love are the ones who have always loved to make (music) and not felt to give it up.

PixelRecall: What was your main goal when you set out to create Distant Reality, and do you feel like you accomplished it?

Shirobon: I just wanted to make something a little different from the generic releases that are out there at the moment, and not to try and jump on a trend and make some kind of bass music! I reckon I did a good job!

PixelRecall: Any final thoughts or news you’d like to share with the Chiptunes = WIN community?

Shirobon: Back Tracking and Distant Reality I consider to be warm up releases to show people what my sounds is like now. With them released I’m going to start work on an album! Still planning what sort of songs I want on it but it’s gonna be a journey that crosses over the sounds of chiptune and synthesizers!

Big thanks to Shirobon for taking time out for the interview!

Now go grab your copy of ‘Distant Reality’ on Bandcamp right now before the next time you hang with your friends so that when they’re like, “Have you heard of Shirobon?” you can be like, “Know him? I have Distant Reality on repeat!”

Pixel Recall ~ (R. Morgan Slade) ~ Support the artists you love

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ChipWIN-tern Spotlight: ‘The Last Dream’ by ap0c

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I really want to know what they put in the water up in Philly. Or…actually, on second thought, I probably don’t. But whatever magical ingredient is in the water up in Philly, it seems to be infecting the creative and philosophical types to very interesting effect. Last time around, I was talking about an0va’s ‘Ego Depletion,’ which if you read through the end of the interview, you know that that album was supposed to be an exploration of consciousness. In a strange turn of events, there is another Philly-based chipartist who has both a lower-case “a” and the number “0” in their name, who works in the Psychology department of a university and who has released an album meant to break us down and really get us thinking about what constitutes “us,” – that is to say, Steve Lakawicz, better known as ap0c, and his new album ‘The Last Dream.’


Album cover by Joey Mariano, better known as Animal Style. You know, that guy who does the stuff.

Now, as much as I’m joking around about the similarities between an0va and ap0c’s names and album concepts, both of these guys are worlds apart (metaphorically, of course – in reality they’re probably about two bus stops from each other). Those of you who have been around for a while probably remember ap0c’s contribution to our humble collection back on Volume 2, and you can already tell just from those four minutes the extremely diverse ground that ap0c can cover – and ‘The Last Dream’ is basically that on an album-wide scale. That’s honestly what I love the most about this album on the whole, is the fact that you never really know where it’s going. But there’s another hidden part to this album, which even ap0c himself may not know consciously, which I will reveal to all of you now:

It sucks playing a low brass instrument. “Wait, what?” I hear you cry, “I thought this was about chiptunes!” Alright chucklehead, give me a second. See, Steve and I got to talking during MAGFest, and we learned something very important about each other – we both play low brass instruments: he, the tuba; me, the euphonium (yes, it’s real, no, you haven’t heard of it). And when you’re a creative person trapped in the low brass section, it does something to you. Something weird. I’m sure you all know the joke about the bassist in a rock band, about how no one really loves them and they’re basically unimportant to the melody, while some people recognize them as barely better than a metronome to keep time while the band plays. The simple fact of the matter is, when you play a bass instrument, be it bass guitar or tuba or basically anything that never gets a melody, you start secretly hoping that some day, when you’re a big kid and you get to write the music, that you’ll write music that features the bassline playing the melody! Something that sounds cool, because screw all those high pitches, it’s the BASSLINE’s turn to steal the glory of the song!

As any of you who know how to compose, be it chiptunes or otherwise, probably know – having the bass in the lead for a whole song isn’t a healthy idea. It doesn’t sound like a song – people aren’t used to it. However, the more mature manifestation of this is to have some really prominent basslines featured in the composition to have them be in the audience’s face when they can be, and move out of the way when they need to be. And THIS is what Steve has done all throughout this album – his healthy understanding of the bassline colors the sound of the album in ways that are quite unique and unexpected to most people who go into this expecting another Anamanaguchi or Danimal Cannon.

Stylistically, the album is all over the place in the best way. Steve’s classical training bleeds through in parts, sounding at home among Bach’s fugues, but within the same song it might flip around to be something more lighthearted and goofy like one might expect out of a Sonic game, only to have it flip around and break down in a way that can only lead to mosh pits. Despite the fact that the styles bounce around, all of the transitions are seamless and it never feels like a song has been just Frankensteined together from a bunch of ideas just to fill time. It’s got enough in it from every style it represents to make it palatable from listeners of the more traditional music training to those who just love music they can jam around to. Personally, though, I’d say this album is best enjoyed with a good pair of headphones, or at the very least with some speakers with decent bass response – again, because ap0c has some really subtle and fancy basswork, a lot of the album is missed if you’re listening to it on dinky speakers with no bass.

That’s all this time around. Next time, I promise I’ll find someone to talk about who isn’t from Philly, I promise. For now though, go grab some fancy headphones, pop a brewski and go find yourself.

Ways to find ap0c on the Internet:
 Facebook | Soundcloud | Bandcamp | Twitter


8-Bit Banter with DjjD: ‘A For Amiga’ by cTrix

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Yo, yo, yo. DjjD here.

Before we begin, let’s just look at a couple of the comments I’ve found on the internet whilst listening to this amazing piece of work:

“I’ve been freaking out about how good ‘A for Amiga’ is. Jammy yet musical, bouncy yet methodical, calculated yet playful…” – Phonetic Hero (Pete Lepley)

“this album is fucking GOOD” – Luke Keever


Classy statements, for a classy album. However, this fantastic Bleepstreet release does for me what I have not been able to find in other recent collections: pure, unadulterated vehemence. In a number of ways, cTrix manages to conceive extreme twists and turns in an immensely enjoyable and thrilling expedition down memory lane back into the early 90s. How he manages to pack such nostalgic, complicated rhythms and such wonderful, prodigious leads in each song, off of an Amiga 500, is just beyond words. The radical melodies generated from this machine (and its user), are just incredible.


When I saw this first, I had flashbacks of After Burner.

To really understand what the background of ‘A For Amiga’ was, I asked Chris Mylrae (cTrix) for a few moments of his time to explain how he got to this concept and how he carried out his project:

A for Amiga is a project which started life as an “album-on-a-floppy” Amiga musicdisk. The Amiga’s tracking system was what had launched me into the world of digital music production when I was a kid. The aim was to make tunes using samples from the original floppies which came bundled with “The Ultimate Sound Tracker” which was one of the first Amiga trackers (late 80’s). I also decided to use some of the samples I spent weekends of my childhood finding at computer swap meets. Pre-internet / pre-sampler that’s how I got my sounds!

Best part?

“…I’d love to give you a philosophical reason to why I made these tunes – but it was mainly a technical challenge purely for fun. Once I got going I spent a long time on some of the melodies and chordal structures… but it all came down tunes that were fun to make.”

No deeper meaning than that, folks. He did this because he wanted to test his limits and make something badass. Personally, I can’t stop listening to “DX Heaven”. It’s super smooth, has some really great dynamics, and this is probably just me, but it totally reminds me of Epic Pinball.

I can’t speak highly enough of this album; it’s just THAT good. Each track is a descent farther and farther into a simpler, far more pleasant past. You’ll be thinking about those good ol’ days where all you had to think about was games, sipping on lemonade, and occasionally treading outside of your dungeon/castle/fortress (yes, your house) to hang out with friends. You owe it to yourself to listen to some damn good music, Christmas was tough.

…and no I’m not just saying that because I waited until the day before Christmas to buy gifts. (don’t judge me)

Stay classy. :)

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The President’s Manifesto: Beer & Chip Vol.4

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Weeeeelp, looks like it’s that time of the month again! Of course, I’m talking about some good ole beer & chiptune commentary with me, Prez Hoodie! =D

So turn up your speakers & grab your favorite drinking glass, and let’s get on with my seasonally appropriate December selections:

Dansk Mjød Viking Blod & Kubbi.

Yup. That’s right. This month I’m deviating from my normal selection of a beer type to review and instead featuring a Nordic honeywine (aka mead). All in honor of the Norwegian wonder Kubbi, of course (more on that cat further in).

Viking Blod

In all truth, my quest began not for mead but for a bottle of akvavit/aquavit, a traditional flavored Scandinavian spirit often imbibed around the holiday season, which Kubbi recommended that I sample. Whilst I had no luck finding that imported drink in my region of Podunk, Arkansas, I did fortunately stumble upon a bottle of Dansk Mjød’s Viking Blod in the search. A more than worthy substitution to incorporate in this Skyrim-esqe pairing.

The front label describes Viking Blod as “Nordic honeywine with hibiscus and hops added”. If this seems like an interesting combination of ingredients, it’s because it is.

I’ve sampled a couple varieties of mead before, but never one with a gorram flower added to it! As one might expect, it adds a notable floral element to the already rather complex flavor. Combined with the hops and honeyed sweetness, it brings an almost ginger like aftertaste to the drink. It’s certainly… different, but undeniably quite nommy!

mead hoodieSeeing as how this is a fairly unique beverage, I for once followed all of the back label’s suggested methods of imbibing (which also includes an interesting, albeit brief historical account of mead!). Quaffing both on the rocks and in a slightly chilled glass served it well (with chilled glass being the superior method), although my #1 recommendation would be to drink it thoroughly heated. It turns Viking Blod into a delightful winter beverage akin to something like wassail, perfect for warming the insides as Jack Frost howls fiercely outside (or, in my case, maybe stirs up a chilly little breeze here and there…). I could also see it used to great affect in cooking, particularly a reduction with pork or a really tasty ham glaze. Heeeeeeeey Chiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiip Mooooooooooooooooom!! ;)

The internet is quite fond of Viking Blod as well! For instance, gives it a 92 overall score, accompanied by a multitude of favorable reviews. My summation would have to be something along the lines of, “YOU CAN TASTE THE FORESTS OF NORWAY IN EACH GORRAM SIP.” Yup, that’ll do. ;)

Kubbi sez, “Gi meg mjød!”

Moving onto the equally complex & delicious chipartist known to the internetz as Kubbi, we find just as delectable a sonic treat for the ears.

Quite the prolific artist, Kubbi has both a thorough & musically diverse discography spanning the past three years. While his initial forays in 2010 were primarily found on cm.o & the now defunct 8bc, the bulk of his releases can be found in the form of singles on Soundcloud and EPs and full length albums on Bandcamp. And just so you know, every single gorram track is worth indulging in.

To give a little background on his compositional methods, Kubbi uses the tracker inspired DAW Renoise to create his chipmusic, and employs a solid library of samples that he’s collected & tweaked over the years. His goto plug-ins include YMCK’s Magical 8bit PlugPlogue Chipsounds & U-he Zebra, all of which he highly recommends. Although on his more recent releases he also incorporates the talented guitar-work of Jonas Dam (featured on ‘Gas Powered EP’  & ‘Something New’) & the beautiful vocals of Live-Andrea Rasch (on tracks “Concrete” & “Circuithead”), further fleshing out the already dynamic soundscapes found in his music.

It’s no secret: 2012 was definitely the most prolific year of Kubbi’s career thus far, during which he released three different full length albums (Transmittance‘, ‘Sleet‘, & ‘Circuithead‘). While all three merit a good solid listen/download/purchase, ‘Circuithead’ is probably the most standout among the three (note the “probably” snuck in there, as dammit, they’re all quite standout!). It’s the most cohesive release among them, sounding almost like a concept album of a sort. Although to be honest, there’s an overarching theme/feel of wistful melancholy and driven determination interwoven into most of his music. Maybe it’s natural by-product of drinking mead & practicing dragonshouts in the snowy mountains of Norway all the time, I don’t know. ;)

While 2013 has been a bit slower in terms of quantity (blame university & his work both sequencing and helping judge ChipWIN Volume 2…), the quality has continued to increase even more. His latest release, ‘Gas Powered EP‘, deservingly garnered attention from the very folk that it was both inspired by and dedicated to; it earned a direct shout-out from Cade of Cartoon Hangover and made it into a preview trailer of a Bravest Warriors episode! Pretty damn amazing.

Regarding recent singles of note are his fantastic Renovation Mixes. They’re essentially re-instrumentations of some of his previous works, and really do breathe new light into the tracks. There are only three at the moment, but I have a feeling that’ll change in the coming months.

Kubbi’s latest single “Something New” does an excellent job of displaying the current state of his musical evolution & where he’s aiming for; it combines his signature chip stylings with an even more grand & ethereal, almost orchestral sound-set. Check it out right here:

To kick off 2014 with a MAGnificent bang, Kubbi is debuting his first live performance with both Jonas & Live at MAGFest 12. If you’d like to catch a very rare treat (and who wouldn’t?!?) make sure to get your ass to MAGFest & come down for the Saturday Midnight Chiptune Blowout! That alone is gonna be worth the trip to MAG this year!

Seriously, I could write endlessly about this exceedingly talented young chipartist. Everything he composes is simply extraordinary; each track takes you on a fantastic journey as you listen to & experience it. All that and the fact that, well…
HE’S DONE A LOTTA STUFFS!! :O All the same, whether you’re a fan of chipmusic or not, Kubbi has something to offer you.


He’s certainly offering something here, #KNOWWUTIMEAN? 8)

And this finishes up yet another edition of my monthly beer & chip specials! Here’s hoping you’ve enjoyed the read, the delightful Kubbi-music referenced in it (a handful of his music embedded below!), and are fortunate enough to stumble across a chance to sample this very tasty beverage (maybe I’ll bring a flask to MAGFest 12 for this very purpose. Who knows? ;).

Merry Chipmas & much \m||m/,
President Hoodie

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Aydan Appreciates: ‘EXILE’ and ‘OUTLAW’ by Tri Angles

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“As always, we’ll reach the other side. 
As always, I send my best regards. 
I do not know where I am headed next, 
but I know that, as always, 
a great adventure awaits…”

As the year 2013 comes to an end, we’ve covered some seriously incredible artists and their work here on The ChipWIN Blog. It’s amazing how time flies, and I’m happy to say that this has been a HUGE year for the chipmusic community. As many of you know, SMILETRON has been put to rest, so to speak; no more productions will be seen under this alias. However, a new path is being forged by this legendary musician, artist, and wanderer, under the name of Tri Angles. Expressing himself with a new sound, Tri Angles weaves a beautiful, intricate, lo-fi soundscape as a gift from himself to the world with each song he creates. ‘EXILE’ and ‘OUTLAW’ are Tri Angles’ most recent presents to the world, just in time for the holidays.

‘EXILE’ opens with its namesake. The track’s percussive effects are quiet and soothing, never overpowering the chill-out vibes that Tri Angles’ melodies inspire within their listeners. Karle Moulden provides beautiful guitar work for an already awe-inspiring track, and adds to the mood by blending riffs in seamlessly. ‘RETROGRADE’ provides a drum ‘n bass-esque feel to Tri Angles’ signature sound, and ‘HALO (ft. Bubu)’ is an aural experience I won’t soon forget. This track in particular instills a feeling of adventure and longing within me; it reminds me of the many walks in the woods I used to take as a child, and provides a certain sense of wonder for any listener. ‘EXILE’ closes out with ‘TRANSIENCE’, a calming piece that sounds as though it’s straight from a dream. Beautiful chords ring out above an almost near-absent percussion, and as the notes swell, a euphoric sensation arises within its listeners.

‘OUTLAW’, Tri Angles’ most recent single, is a lo-fi drum ‘n bass masterpiece. Opening with a rather straightforward melody, it is quickly changed into something entirely different with the addition of many other instruments. The scratching sounds that appear around the midpoint of the track are a welcome addition to this piece of ambient art, and they leave just as abruptly as they enter, providing for two truly different sections within the song. [Editor’s note: Also, Firefly reference FTW. 8) ]

With Tri Angles having been one of the most influential artists in my life, and, through his previous alias as SMILETRON, one of the first chipmusicians I ever listened to, I’ve always been intrigued by what his musical influences are, and about his musical career as a whole. I reached out to him, and we spoke at length about these things and more. For all of you ChipWINners out there, here’s my exclusive interview with the one and only Tri Angles!

Aydan: First, I wanna say thanks for taking the time out of your day to be willing to do this interview with me. I really appreciate it!

Tri Angles: Of course! It’s my pleasure.

Aydan: I suppose I’ll lead off by asking about your influences. Can you try to describe from where you draw inspiration to make your music?

Tri Angles: Hmmm…from life, I suppose. I’ve always been told that to be a good storyteller, you should write what you know; I try to apply that to music. I write about things I experience, and the ways I view them. I try to put some kind of creative spin on it. I’ve always been of the opinion that for the purest musical output, you have to limit the amount of outside influence coming in, so most of my inspiration comes from life itself, as opposed to say, other musicians, my peers, etc. The vast majority of what I write about comes straight out of my soul.

A lot of it comes straight out of my dreams. I sleep a lot, probably too much. I’m a daydreamer, and a night-dreamer, ha. Always been a little out there. I’ve also been really into this space opera and sci-fi/future western kick lately, and there’s definitely some spillover into what I write.

I guess I try to be a little bit larger than life when I am doing musical things, because that’s what I feel any good storyteller should try to be. You embellish a little, perfect your art, and share it with everyone you can. Past that…just trying to make the coolest sounds that I can!

Aydan: That’s…incredible. Being able to pull that much musical talent without taking much influence from other artists, if any at all, is almost unheard of nowadays. I really respect that! Your music is really inspirational to a lot of people throughout the chipmusic world, myself and Hoodie included, and you’re a really talented musician and artist.

My second question is about the change from your previous alias, SMILETRON, to your new alias, Tri Angles. Can you explain the reasoning behind the change? I personally feel a huge change between SMILETRON’s style, so to speak, and that of Tri Angles.

Tri Angles: Mainly I felt like SMILETRON was a finished story. It felt like the right thing to do, so as hard as it was to let go of my comfort zone, I wrapped up all the loose ends, poured all of my soul into it, and released it into the internet forever. I guess, in some way, that part of me will live forever, and I think that’s a pretty powerful thing.

I really wanted to branch off into new things, experiment with new styles and sounds; my life has been changing pretty dramatically over the last year and I needed a new…direction, I guess. I’m more than a little rebellious at heart and that plays into a lot of it.

At the same time, a lot of it is still the same. I suppose you could say it’s kind of a sequel. I wanted to start a new journey, but in a completely different direction while still retaining everything I had learned and accomplished on the last one. I definitely feel like there is a lot more room for growth and exploration on this current musical trajectory than there was with SMILETRON.

It’s a little sad to say that I wanted to distance myself from being a “chiptune” artist, because…well, for being so closely tied to the chipmusic scene, I probably write the least amount of actual, legitimate chipmusic out of any of my musical peers. I do definitely try to incorporate that mindset into writing new music, though. I have a lot of respect for it, but at the same time I feel it’s been healthy for my musical growth to distance myself from it.

At the same time, I stay close to the chipmusic world because I really do love it, and the people who comprise it. As far as musical “scenes” go, it’s definitely the tightest-knit, most inspiring, community-driven group of musicians I’ve ever come across and it’s amazing to be a part of it, even if I just drift around the fringes these days.

As for how Tri Angles came to be, well…it’s the name I’ve been given. It seemed like the appropriate, natural progression of things. I adopted it wholeheartedly, even into my personal life. A little bit of anonymity is nice.

Aydan: Anonymity is definitely welcome nowadays. One last question, concerning your future forays into music. Are you thinking of taking an even more dynamic change in direction with your music? Or can you give me a hint as to what your future endeavors may entail?

Tri Angles: Honestly, I don’t know! I kind of just take it as it comes. I feel my musical mind being pulled in a lot of different directions, and it’s getting harder and harder to just pick one and follow through. But I’ve been dreaming a lot recently, so much, an almost overpowering amount…so I imagine things will start materializing pretty soon! Probably some familiar sounds, some new sonic territories. I only know to keep moving forward.

Aydan: Well, whichever path you choose to follow, I wish you the best of success.

Tri Angles: Thanks, friend. :)

Aydan: Not a problem, friend. :) Thank you so much for doing this, again!

As Chris noted two months ago, a large part of the experience of listening to Tri Angles’ music is the responsibility of the listener to interpret it and give it a meaning of their own. I truly hope that each and every one of you has gathered something from this, be it insight, inspiration, knowledge, or anything else.

Happy holidays. <3


Tri Angles
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