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::: sounds :::

::: raadio mälu released :::

::: murmer ::: raadio mälu :::

::: green field recordings ::: web ::: 2018 ::: play/download :::

in 2013 luís antero invited me to make a piece for his radio show, o colecionador de sons (the sound collector). that work, raadio mälu (radio memory) aired there, and subsequently on framework radio, and has now been released on luís’ netlabel, green field recordings. it’s free to stream and download, please have a listen! featuring the voices of alfred tubin, Siiri Kolka, Lauri Laanisto and Mari Jõgiste

from the liner notes:

in 2013 i found a small portable radio, dating probably from the 1980′s and made during soviet times, is a secondhand shop in the small village of mooste in southeast estonia. i have a thing for old radios, so i bought it, and it got me to thinking about the place of radio, not in this present world of internet streaming, podcasting and so forth, but in our past, and in our memories. i know i have distinct memories of radio, radio stations, djs, events, situations, and even places that i relate to radio from my own past, growing up in boston, during my student days in western massachusetts, all the way through my years at the resonance fm studios in london, and my attempts now to listen to estonian radio to improve my language skills. i wondered if this particular radio, alien to me but possibly familiar to estonians, might trigger memories for those around me, and i decided to find out.

i composed this piece from four elements: memories, stories and observations from a handful of estonians, related upon being presented with this particular radio for the first time; sonic material produced by the radio itself, both when tuned to and tuned between stations; field recordings from the surrounding landscape, vibrations in the immediate airwaves that have carried these radio signals; and archive material from estonian radio’s past, both in and before the country’s soviet era.

further details on the release page here

::: homework – year 2 :::

my new work, echo surveys: viljandi (reimagined), is available for free download, or to stream above, on the second annual taâlem records compilation, ‘homework – year 2’, amongst 10 hours of music by many great artists and friends. some words from jean-marc boucher:

it’s that time again between saint nicolas (non-belgian people will probably not understand) and christmas. please welcome back “homework” for its second year. as last year, we’ve asked every taâlem (and sublabels) artist to submit a new and previously unreleased track, created/tweaked/finalized during 2017. the response was even more massive than last year: we have got 67 tracks (there were 52 in 2016). most of the contributing artists were already present last year, others couldn’t unfortunately make it this year but there are a lot of new names! please enjoy taâlem’s end-of-year present.

and a few words about the piece: echo surveys is an ongoing series of activities including performances, workshops, installations, and compositions that consist of site-specific sonic interventions; all sounds heard are produced and/or recorded in a chosen space, using only materials found therein. this ‘reimagined’ work adds a new layer; it is based on a live performance in the noisy november 2017 festival at supersonicum in viljandi, estonia on 2017.11.17, and is composed from the initial field recordings made in the space to be used in the performance, as well as from the recording of the performance itself. also participating in the performance and therefore in this composition were erik alalooga and taavi suisalu (the event organiser and other performer on the bill that night, respectively) and a number of members of the public.”

my contribution to homework – year 1 can be found here.

::: listen to ‘echo surveys: vartiosaari’ :::

echo surveys ::: vartiosaari is a series of site-specific soundworks for locations around vartiosaari island in helsinki, finland, produced for the exhibition at the arts in the environment 2017 nordic symposium, which runs on the island from september 2 – october 8, 2017. each work consists entirely of field recordings and resonated objects (found, played, and recorded in-situ) from each individual location, and is intended to be heard there. visitors can bring their own smartphones and headphones and listen to the works by scanning a QR code at each site. if you have visited the exhibition but were unable to hear the works, or if you are unable to attend, you can click here to listen to them and see their locations.

::: october sibilant (for michael northam) :::

Each Morning of the World #2
North American PhoNographic Mornings #03/20
Vermont ~ New England ~ USA
october sibilant (for michael northam)
patrick mcginley (aka murmer)

i don’t particularly feel like a reasonable ‘representative’ of north america, having now lived more of my life outside it than within it. but i did grow up there, and i do still have a soft spot especially for new england, and the not-easily-describable feelings that come with childhood memories of woods and coast, sounds, smells, and atmospheres. this makes the role feel a little more appropriate, as much of my work is about memory and past, and it allows me to present a sonic impression of a piece of my own past, however invented that impression may be. the sounds used are also from the past – all recorded, during a visit from my then-home in france, in the woods in vermont with my friend michael northam, near his own then-home, mostly on the 19th of october, 2008. we arrived at a spot along a small stream with some of our own sound-making devices (michael’s shakuhachi, a small zither with an ebow, a bag of bottlecaps…) that would interact with the water, pebbles and leaves that we found there (not to mention the passing airplane whose drone can be heard). we recorded until the sound of a rifle nearby made us both too nervous to continue, and we quickly packed up and scurried away. a few days later (on october 21st) we recorded a four-handed autumn leaf improvisation, which can also be heard here. the accompanying images are not from those same days (we had no camera), but from a few weeks earlier, taken on a day hike in the vermont mountains with my father, another cherished memory from that fine autumn.

from North American PhoNographic Mornings, track released September 3, 2017
all sounds found, recorded and/or produced by patrick tubin mcginley & michael northam, 2008
composed by patrick tubin mcginley, 2017
photos by patrick tubin mcginley, 2008

curated by Stéphane Marin

this is my contribution to stéphane marin’s ongoing project each morning of the world. this is the 2nd instalment, north american phonographic mornings, consisting of 20 contributions premiering over 20 weeks on sunday mornings, streaming on resonance extra and available on bandcamp. here is a little more info on the project:

stéphane marin presents a weekly series of twenty short soundscapes recorded in the mornings at various locations throughout north america. entitled « North American PhoNographic Mornings » this series forms part of a wider project, « Each Morning of the World », which invites sound artists, composers and recordists globally to share their own specific point of listening, either through a raw field recording or original composition. weekly on sunday morning.

::: homework – year 1 :::

my new work, the docks sing in strange tongues, is available for free download, or to stream above, on the first annual taâlem records compilation, ‘homework – year 1’, amongst 7 hours of music by many great artists and friends. some words from jean-marc boucher:

“homework – year 1” is the first volume in an ongoing series of compilations which will hopefully be released at the end of each year and will gather unreleased tracks recorded/finalised during the year by as many taâlem artists as possible.

the idea came from a cassette compilation named “opus 1” released in 1992 by the french label les nouvelles propagandes featuring brume and internal fusion amongst other french artists. the idea was to release each year tracks by the same artists. there were sadly no other editions…

inspired by this concept, we’ve asked every artist who had a release on taâlem during these past 15 years to contribute an unreleased track recorded/finalised in 2016.

a total of 52 artists have sent us a track for this first edition. most are still active, some have changed their project name, others got back from their retirement for this occasion!

we have unfortunately not been able to gather everyone… some artists have stopped creating music, some have disappeared, others we lost contact with and couldn’t get in touch again, others didn’t have enough time to contribute… we’ll try to gather even more artists next year!

::: kuulamispunkt :::

kuulamispunkt (listening point) is a mobile social sound installation, which appears in various locations around a city or town, usually in the context of a festival or other city-wide event, presenting hidden and not-so-hidden sounds to passersby in the form of an information booth. all sounds are live and location-specific. although not necessarily the original intention, the installation also creates a condusive environment for interaction and play, and many participants find themselves actively seeking the source of sound and exploring how their actions can affect it.

the first iteration of this installation happened in tartu, estonia during the UIT festival in august, 2016. the listening point appeared in nine locations over four days and served hundreds of listeners. below you can find a gallery of images from these locations, and a short recorded excerpt of the sounds discovered there.

the inaugural location for kuulamispunkt was in the front garden of the house hosting the UIT festival’s opening night concert. microphones were placed inside a 50mm drainage pipe sunk into the grass.

the second location was in the city center, outside the estonian writers union, under a rowan tree. contact microphones were placed in the tree, picking up the movement of the branches and the resonance of passing traffic in the wood.

the third location was next to the statue of peeter põld, a 19th-century estonian scientist and pedagogue, which is alongside a major road along the river. binaural microphones were placed in the statue’s ears, giving the listener a perfect stereo image from the statues perspective, and an idea of the noise peeter has to put up with all day and night.

the fourth location was along the river, listening to underwater sounds from one hydrophone mixed with the resonance of the riverside metal railings captured with a contact microphone.

the fifth location was on tartu’s townhall square, with contact microphones attatched to the large yellow frame put up to highlight to scenic view of the square, but the hollow metal structure provides a hidden unexpected amplifying resonance as well.

the sixth location was outside one of the festival venues, alongside a contruction site. omnidirectional microphones amplified the resonance inside the site’s safety fences.

the seventh location, on a very hot sunny day, was in the cool shade under a bridge along the river, with a pair of hydrophones capturing boat movement, dripping condensation, and some underwater life.

the eighth location was in a small park on a quiet street, where the public trash bins buzzed with life in the summer heat. the shape of the bins also resonanted the ambient sound, causing one listener to describe what she heard in the headphones as a ‘nightmarish science fiction cityscape, in a city of flies.’

the final location was at the site of the festival’s final performance, in an old industrial yard on the outskirts of town. here a magnetic coil picked up signals from the nearest building’s electrical installation.

::: ruben guzman short films :::

i am extremely honored to announce that the amazing experimental documentary filmmaker rubén guzmán, from patagonia, has made two short film clips inspired by and featuring sounds from my upcoming LP release on gruenrekorder, songs for forgetting. i can’t recommend his work enough – if you have a chance to see any of his films, take it.

more about his work can be found here.

Screenshot 2016-05-18 17.53.43

::: echo surveys for living spaces :::

::: work-in-progress: the mill :::


since 2009 i have been working with the local räpina paper factory for the handmade sleeves that have housed the various framework editions releases, culminating with framework500, which not only used paper made there, but featured recordings of that paper being made. during the recording sessions for framework500 i couldn’t help but think that what really needed to be made at the mill was a film.

since early summer 2015, my friend and collaborator daniel allen and i have been recording the paper mill in all it’s surreal, other-worldly glory, and we now think we have what we need to make our film about this incredible space.

the film will take us some time still; in the meantime, we have put together this 3-minute teaser with some of our footage. we’d be very happy to hear any comments you might have! hopefully we can get the final product finished by the end of 2016.

::: 2014.07.19 ::: varbuse, ee :::

::: presentation @ eesti maanteemuuseum :::

saturday, 19 july
eesti maanteemuuseum
vana postitee

presentation of my (light-hearted) project mushroom(ears) in the context of the estonian road museum’s road art festival, about the use of a quasi-jecklin disk recording set-up to record sounds from the perspective of mushrooms in the ihamaru forest just off the historical tartu-võru postal road where the museum is situated.

each recording was made from the perspective of the pictured mushroom, with a pair of small-capsule omnidirectional microphones placed on the mushroom cap as ‘ears’, with stereo separation created with a cardboard and felted-linen semi-circular barrier, amounting approximately to one-half or a jecklin disc. observations: at this time of year, mid-july, bird sound is low in the forest, leaving more space for distant sounds and insects. as such, i would like to repeat the experiment with a lower-noise microphone. also, the black windshields seemed to attract insects – a more neutral color would be preferable. here are three examples:

puravik (bolete):
2014-07-17 14.09.35

kitsemampel (gypsy mushroom):
2014-07-17 14.44.29

kukeseen (chanterelle):
2014-07-17 15.33.11


::: echo surveys :::

::: murmer ::: echo surveys :::

::: murmerings ::: web ::: 2014 ::: download :::

in 2012 i began a new series of performances which i call echo surveys. the premise is straightforward: each is entirely unique and site-specific; all sounds heard are either produced live from materials found in the space, or have been prerecorded there during a pre-performance reconnaissance visit. this is an attempt to retain a specific and direct connection with each space and each audience, and to retain a sense of risk associated with each performance.

these first three experiments occurred during a visit to the eastern united states in the fall of that year. each had it’s particularities: the first was in the galleria of the baker center for the arts at muhlenberg college, in allentown, where i was given permissions to ‘play’ the harry bertoia kinetic sculptures which are on display there. the second was in my hometown, boston, where a very sparse performance space proved to be quite a challenge for finding sound sources. and the third, at bruce tovsky’s space in the brooklyn navy yards, expanded outwards, as the exceptional environment and visual collaboration with bruce led us to make our initial recordings, not just in the performance space, but all around the navy yard. for the performance bruce’s film was screened, accompanied by found sounds from the yard mixed with the live playing of found materials in the space.

while usually i am not partial to publicly releasing recordings of my live performances (as they generally don’t make sense without the immediate connection to space and audience), i like having the ability to compare these three very different outcomes of this experiment, and to draw attention to bruce’s great filmwork. you can hear the three performances streaming above (sound only), or watch bruce’s film with my sound below.

“BROOKLYN NAVY YARD came about incredibly quickly. When I heard that Patrick, who is based in Estonia, was coming through Brooklyn on a brief U.S. tour I knew that we had to do something together at my space in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Patrick’s work is very much an exploration of site-specific sound and sound as definition of space, and the Navy Yard was the perfect urban subject; a sprawling 150-year-old Navy Yard undergoing a transformation into a modern industrial village on the Brooklyn waterfront. I myself am both a life-long phonographer and visual artist, and have done many pieces that explore the visual and sonic resonance of urban spaces. I had long wanted to do a piece in and about the Yard and this seemed to be the perfect opportunity. Due to our tight schedules we decided to spend one day gathering material in the Yard and then present it in a live sound with video performance in the studio. I led us through the Yard and Patrick chose specific places to sonically document, using both standard microphones and large contact mics. I set up my camera positions, sometimes including him recording or listening, sometimes not. We had the freedom to roam as we pleased – as a tenant I have full access within the Yard. After several hours of accumulation, we each spent the night and next day organizing and editing what we had gathered. The next evening we reconvened at the Yard and gave the performance: Patrick mixed sounds drawn from the previous day with explorations of the studio itself for sound potential – he had positioned several contact mics on various structural elements in the space, and used them to haunting effect. The groans and wails echoed the sounds created by the huge cranes used in the Yard’s dry-dock facilities. I screened the edit I had made of the prior days outing on a large 6’ x 8’ video screen I keep in the space. We had a capacity audience – 30 or so people – and as is our usual method had a post-performance discussion, which this time was particularly rich and informative. I record the sound at these events with both direct feeds from each performer and with a custom-made binaural dummy head, and then do a balance between them in the final mix – often in a 4.1 mix. I later combined the video piece with the mixed audio to create this standalone piece, an encapsulation of our effort to capture and examine a slice of this historic, fascinating space.” – bruce tovsky, 2014

::: a quiet position: form​(​at​)​, flora and fauna :::

:::  murmer: tape found on my mother’s dashboard :::
::: from a quiet position: form(at), flora, and fauna :::

::: engraved glass ::: mp3 ::: 2013 ::: download :::

i have contributed a piece to an online compilation on jez riley french’s a quiet position series on his engraved glass imprint, focused on sounds originally recorded on cassette tape.

this proposal became an exercise in memory for me. audio tape is not a medium i think about much in and of itself – i never recorded onto tape, but began when minidisc became affordable in the late 90’s – but it was very present in my life before my own recording began. i had a tape collection, both store-bought and dubbed records or cds, throughout high-school and university, and still associate, for example, some albums with others simply because they shared space on a single 90 minute cassette. so the object remains evocative to me, even if the medium does not.

that said, if i do think about the medium, one or two memories come to me: the hours spent playing with a friend’s copicat tape delay above a pub in london, stringing extra-long tape loops all over the room; making tapes of jokes and stories alone and with friends throughout my childhood, the first being one my father recorded of me at about the age of 4; and this recording, which was a cassette tape that had been sitting on the dashboard of my mother’s car for goodness knows how long. i was living in london at the time, and she had become inspired by my new recording activities to herself record for me the spring peepers in the marsh behind her new england home.


she found an old all-in-one tape recorder, and went looking for a tape to put in it. the only tapes she could think of were those in her car, which had likely been there, on the dashboard, in the sun, for years. she took one that she never listened to, popped it in the recorder, made a hissy, distant, but also lovely recording of her peepers, and gave the tape to me.

i was pleased enough to hear the peepers on one side of the tape, but when i flipped if over and listened to side b, the remains of whatever music she had originally copied there, burnt and warped by years of dust and sun and moisture, i was blown away. it was music that no one could have imagined, an alien static orchestra, with rhythms and cadences previously unknown.

i copied the cassette onto what would become another audio memory, a minidisc, attempted, if i recall correctly, to make some sort of composition out of it, never finished, and relegated it to the archive, where it sat more or less forgotten until this pinch sent me back towards my few magnetic-medium-related memories. i have long since lost that cassette, but i still have my minidisc archives, so when this memory arose i was able, with a little difficulty, to extract a recording of one obsolete bit of technology from another obsolete bit of technology, and present it on this obsolete-bit-of-technology-to-be.

::: raadio mälu :::

recently luís antero, curator of the green field recordings label, and producer of the radio show o colecionador de sons (the sound collector), invited me to produce a piece to celebrate one of the last broadcasts of his show before he leaves on an extended hiatus. it was an honor, and i took the opportunity to explore an idea that had recently come up. the resulting work, entitled raadio mälu (radio memory in estonian), debuted on portuguese radio on the the 13th of may, 2013, and was then rebroadcast as an edition of framework:afield on the 19th.

::: patrick mcginley ::: raadio mälu :::

a few months ago i found a small portable radio, dating probably from the 1980’s and made during soviet times, is a secondhand shop in the small village of mooste in southeast estonia. i have a thing for old radios, so i bought it, and it got me to thinking about the place of radio, not in this present world of internet streaming, podcasting and so forth, but in our past, and in our memories. i know i have distinct memories of radio, radio stations, djs, events, situations, and even places that i relate to radio from my own past, growing up in boston, during my student days in western massachusetts, all the way through my years at the resonance fm studios in london, and my attempts now to listen to estonian radio to improve my language skills. i wondered if this particular radio, alien to me but possibly familiar to estonians, might trigger memories for those around me, and i decided to find out.

2013-05-12 21.37.37
i composed this piece from four elements: memories, stories and observations from a handful of estonians, related upon being presented with this particular radio for the first time; sonic material produced by the radio itself, both when tuned to and tuned between stations; field recordings from the surrounding landscape, vibrations in the immediate airwaves that have carried these radio signals; and archive material from estonian radio’s past, both in and before the country’s soviet era.

the estonians interviewed were given the choice of speaking in their native language or in english; two chose estonian, and two english. i have left the estonian language untranslated in the audio itself – much of what is being communicated can be heard in the tones of their voices, and through shared vocabulary. that said, i am providing a written translation for the estonian language sections below.

::: Alfred ::: 09:22-15:29 :::
It is, yes, made in USSR. It’s from Russian times. But with this one you couldn’t listen to Voice of America. This gets mediumwave and longwave. For Voice of America we used shortwave, 25, 31, and 49 meter bands. But this is… yes, with this one it should be possible… wait, let me check. It’s stuck in the bag. “Selga”; you see? It’s just as I thought, Selga. Produced in Latvia. Latvia made things like this. But let’s see which wavelengths it has – should be mediumwave and longwave. I had one just like this; I used to listen to German music with it. They played very good German music, on mediumwave. And it works? Yes, it’s got mediumwave and longwave. I used to listen to broadcasts in English on shortwave. We also had one of these Riga radios at home. They made a lot of these in Riga. All kinds of different machines. And then we also had a Radiotehnika, I used that one a lot too. I couldn’t speak any English yet, but i just listened to how good it sounded. It has such a nice timbre. Mother also used to listen to English radio – or which language did you listen to? Did you listen to Estonian? Mother doesn’t remember anymore which language she listened to. But yes, there was really good music. So this is from the Radiotehnika factory – RRR: Rigas Radiotehnika Rubnika. RRR, the factory’s mark. “Rigas Radiotehnika Rubnika” in Latvian. Selga 405. 29 rubles. Radio receiver. Look how well it’s preserved. Still working. It’s old already, probably 30, 35 years at least. Quality mark; this is a quality mark. SSSR. Here you choose longwave or mediumwave. It works well. ah, German. German? ah, one of them is speaking German, the other English. It works very well. Italiano – no, maybe not. No, I don’t know. Still English probably. Italian? He’s probably talking about the pope, who’s giving up his position. Is he giving up his position? It’s very sensitive, receiving very well. Don’t know what language that is. And what langauge is that? Ha, Big Brother language. Mine was light colored and had a colored bag as well. And a strap, like this one. This is of course newer than mine was. But that one I think broke. I don’t remember what was wrong with it.

::: Mari ::: 51:18-55:09 :::
It’s a radio, made in the Soviet Union. It has a black leather cover, a bag that has a strap that can be adjusted to different lengths, so that you can, for example, put it over your shoulder on the street and take it with you. Very comfortable. The bag has a nice soft texture on the inside. It has two snaps that you can close it with. The radio itself is rectangular, with two buttons: one for the volume, the other maybe for the frequency. The bag has one round hole, through which you can see the frequency indicator. And then there are many small round holes, to let the sound through. On the back there are some more holes. I don’t know what these can be for. Maybe for the radio to get ventilation. And then there is one hole through which headphones can be attached. And there is one more button with which, probably, different wavelengths – longwave, shortwave – can be selected; you can choose. Many words have been embossed on the bag, for example “made in USSR”. The radio is totally rectangular; the button is round and the speaker part is rectangular with small holes. The brand is Selga. The words on the indicator are green, and the pointer is red, and a bit transparent. On the indicator there are numbers: 1.5; 2; 3; 4; 5.6; 6.5; 8; 10 and 15. On the back is written Radio Prijemnik. Selga-405, type APP 4. Cost 29 rubles.

::: free mp3 release, ačgārnā aizcirtne :::

latvia’s molmika recordings has just made available a new 2 hour mp3 release, available for free download. ačgārnā aizcirtne was a private live session recorded in riga in 2010. very little editing has been done. enjoy, and please share!

::: bērnu rīts, murmer, toms šiklovs, antireality :::
::: ačgārnā aizcirtne :::

::: molmika ::: mp3 ::: 2013 ::: download :::

live session at molmika base, riga, february 9th 2010

d.i.y. string instruments, motors, tapes, reed organ, wind instruments, found objects, frequency generator, jew’s harp, prepared accordion, field recordings, voice.

::: sound as space / sound as language :::

latvian friend and collaborator max shentelevs has posted a piece on the bernu rits website made by latvian television about a series of workshops and performances that took place there in 2008. max, john grzinich and i led the sound as space / sound as language workshop over 6 days in two locations. some more information about the workshop, from the murmerings archives:

“a workshop focusing on sound as transmitter of nonverbal information, whether as a tool for communication or as a description of physical or imaginary space. we will focus on sound’s ability to define/describe space, and on our ability to resonate, alter, or create space by using sound. we will also explore animal communication and group activity. a strong focus will be placed on environmental listening, and the development of the ear toward detailed sonic perception. using small acoustic objects and the space itself, we will experiment with methods of group nonverbal sonic communication, with giving our location a voice, and with creating new spaces toward an understanding of sonic scenography. the workshop will open with an extended listening session, after which participants will work through a series of sonic games and be asked to bring objects to use in the later stages.

more information (in latvian) and images from the week’s events here. the film is also in latvian, but includes much to see and hear!

::: one square meter: maribor riverside :::

one square meter is a project in micro-exploration. all sounds were recorded within a small radius of one another, a study of the different resonances perspectives, and focuses of a small space. for this project the chosen spot is on the riverside of the drava in maribor, the ruins of an old staircase that once led down to the water. the site contains the support poles for the now-gone staircase handrails, metal guardrails and fences, discarded bottles, reeds and cables dipping into the water, concrete walls, and life (insects, birds, fish, etc).individual sounds can be heard from the map on the right. here as well is a composition made using the recordings:

one square meter: maribor riverside is one outcome of the maribor maps project, a collaboration with udo noll, creator of the aporee soundmaps, and as we speak, which was a part of maribor capital of culture 2012.


::: plats, kleyn & mcginley @ mooste folk festival :::

photo by sergei kleyn

on the 28th of april, 2012, marja-liisa plats (a local singer with whom i have worked several times in the past few years and with whom i have had a vague plan for the last year or so to start a musical project), sergei kleyn (a writer and musician who has been a resident artist at MoKS for the last few months) and i entered the annual mooste folk festival song competition and performance, at the request of the organisers for MoKS to enter a band representing the local mooste artists’ community.

many bands (14 this year, i believe) perform 2 songs each during the main event: one is a song of their choice, while the other is a single traditional song chosen by the festival organisers that each band must interpret. on the jury this year, among others, were musician peeter rebane, and legendary electronic composer sven grünberg, who would prove to be our champions as we won the 3rd place ‘surprise prize.’

many thanks to peeter and sven, and all those who enjoyed our music. here it is as recorded on the night by our friends, also then artists-in-residence at MoKS, dennis tan and katri ikävalko.