Darwin Grosse: Today, I have the great opportunity to get a chance to talk to Ned Lagin. Ned is an amazing individual. I kind of got turned on to him by folks over at Important Records who had been working on a release of some of his work. They were like, "Oh my God, there's a story here, if you can find some way to tell it, that would be amazing." Started a conversation with Ned. He was open to the idea. We've had a couple of chats prior to this, and we got along like gangbusters. And so that's always a really good sign. So with no further ado let's say hello to Ned. Hey Ned, how's it going?
Ned Lagin: It's going okay. I have to tell you, I'm happy to be with you and in a way honored. You've done so many great podcasts over the years and books and music and software that it's just great to be with you.
Darwin: Well, thank you so much. I appreciate it. Coming from you that means a lot because you are like a set of those little Russian dolls. Every time I crack open something about you, I find out more of you is inside and it's really quite fascinating as I unravel the history of all the different things that you've done. I hope we're going to really get a chance to dive into. Now, one of the things that kind of was an impetus for starting this discussion was my chat with John over at Important Records. And he had been putting together a release. I think it's a vinyl release of the Seastone stuff. Is that correct?
Ned: Yes, it is.
Darwin: Yeah. And he just was so excited about the opportunity to work with you and so blown away and intrigued by the story of putting together the Seastone's album. And so I was lucky enough, on your site (which is Spiritcats.com), you currently have CD versions of a Seastone release and we'll get into that at some point, but a release of Seastone material, as well as a more recent recording called Cat Dreams. These are both things where you kind of really get to exercise a variety of different parts of your composition and electronic music soul, right?
Ned: Yes. And music in general.
Darwin: Yeah, and music in general. One of the interesting things about Seastones is that all of this stuff was recorded a long, long time ago, but it's kind of reestablishing itself now, both with your CD release - it's a two CD package that's got like 83 different of these Seastone items - and then also the release on vinyl that Important Records did. What is it that makes now a good time to be releasing this material do you think?
Ned: I don't really have a good answer to that except to say that I finally got to a place where I could afford to do it, in terms of time and resources and I wasn't doing other things.
And when you start stuff, you really ought to finish it, even if it takes decades to get to that place. But an anecdote to that is that when I was doing it, I was accused, and in some cases honored by people telling me that I was ahead of my time. And I would vehemently say to them, "I'm not ahead of my time. I'm living in my time. This is how I live, perceive and this is how I make myself present." So one could say that the times have changed and I haven't, and it's become more timely now. But a lot of the things that I was trying to do successfully and unsuccessfully 50 years ago have become pretty much standard today. So I'm no longer ahead of my time in what I did 50 years ago.
And I know we're going to get to it as a subject maybe later, but people need to remember that computers 50 years ago were big boxes. There were no laptops. There were no desktop computers. The smallest computers, mini computers were in racks with lots of equipment. And the prevailing input for most people were still punch cards, paper. So it's hard not to look back on those times now as sort of like the dark ages. But back then, I was just living within my means.
And trying to stretch them. And one of the interesting things about your podcast is you've talked to so many different people who have been stretching their means in today's world projecting into the future. And again, that's why I'm honored to be here now talking to you.
Darwin: Well, thank you. I appreciate that. Yeah. Well, it is interesting to think about, people right now who are either struggling in trying to create their own software or trying to do telecommunication interactions or networking through other means or whatever, as being kind of in that very nacient place of trying to work within extreme limitations. But I think people need to maybe ... People who might not be super familiar with your work might really be a little bit shocked to understand not only the limits that you were working with, but also the extent to which you were out there with it. And I have this suspicion that our discussions are going to get play in a different audience or at least some of a different audience than normal because you had a brief, but very powerful interaction with the Grateful Dead at a time when they were kind of experimental. When the organization was pretty loose and free and you were interacting with them on different musical projects.
We're not going to focus on that as part of the interview, but I think it's kind of interesting to think about what that means. It means that in some cases you are probably the first person to be performing with some of these tools on stage and in a live rock performance environment, right?
Ned: Yeah. That is true. It's not one of those things that you can count and be sort of proud of. But I was probably the first person who performed on stage with computers.
And somebody pointed out to me what, in an email, what was remarkable also about it, was the fact that through my five years of working in playing with the Grateful Dead. I played electronic music, abstract electronic music to 10, 20, 30,000 people at a time. Which is a different level of electronic music exposure. Most people who don't know who I am or about Seastones. Seastones was started in 1970 and completed in 1975. So when we talk about 50 years ago, that's really what we mean.
My first electronic music composition was in 1969. And prior to that, and even after that, I had been trained and educated in serious or what they call classical music at the time, but also in jazz. And so my impetus for doing electronic music partially came from my interest in science and technology and being an electronic kid. But it also was because of improvisation and being able to experience and hear people like Miles Davis, Bill Evans, John Coltrane, live where I was growing up.
Darwin: Let's talk about that a little bit, because one of the things that is really fascinating to me is anytime I find people who, when they describe their childhood is like this equal balance of science and art. That always leads to like really fabulous people to talk to. One of the things that I know from reading some of the background information about you is that you have always considered yourself a scientist and you really feel like you have this heavy science interest as a child but you also had this interest in music. And I'm curious, were either these innate things, were these things that your parents kind of pushed you into or drew out of you? What was the draw for each of them?
Ned: For music, it was the fact that I was given piano lessons and then eventually a year of trying to be in a grade school orchestra with a cello that didn't work out so well.
But the music started with my parents. I had piano lessons and most of the music ... They gave me scales and ARPeggios and a little bit of Bach and stuff. But I also got a lot of show music and loved Gershwin and Cole Porter. When I was seven or eight years old, my parents, when we would go on trips where they had bands in the restaurants playing Gershwin and stuff like that. My parents would push me to go up and play the piano when the band took a break.
Darwin: Oh, my goodness.
Ned: And at that age, if you're not really shy, you're probably really precocious.
Darwin: Yeah. Right, right. Exactly.
Ned: But the music that I was playing at the time was mostly Boogie Woogie and some Elvis Presley, because it was popular. The science part of it just came out of me. I was a naturalist, loving outside. We lived in suburbia that was just cut out of farmland on Long Island - twenty-some odd miles from the city. So you could still see raccoons and snakes and all sorts of things. And my photography grew from taking pictures and recording stuff in notebooks. I love science. I love biology, I loved chemistry. And to a lesser extent, math and physics.
Darwin: Well, that makes a lot of sense. Now also, growing up in the suburbs of Long Island, it does explain how you also had access as you got older. You got access to an amazing treasure trove of music, especially jazz styles.
Ned: Right. When I was old enough, my parents would let me get on the Long Island Railroad and ride into the subway system in, I guess, Queens and then over into the city. And I had to be home at a certain hour, but I went to the museums, the Museum of Natural History, I loved, and art galleries, bookstores. And then when I was old enough, I could stay for the first set of jazz at the Village Vanguard and the Village Gate and Slug's and so forth. So all the clubs, and at that point in time, post-war America, it was just a blossoming of modern art and a blossoming of the affluence that allowed jazz players to make a living and prosper. And as I said, a moment ago, I got to hear all these great players and meet some of them.
Again, I guess I can credit my parents for living in the right place at the right time, where kids have natural hunger for knowledge, information, experience. And I grew up in a place where that could be easily and completely fulfilled.
Darwin: Yeah. That's amazing. What timeframe would this have been? Are we talking like the 50s, like late 50s during that era?
Ned: No, we're talking about the early 60s. Early to mid 60s. I graduated high school in 1966.
Darwin: Well, that was an amazing time for New York jazz because that would have been when Miles was like churning through really amazing groups. You would have still had people like Bud Powell and Bill Evans. And those people still just lighting it up at the time. Right?
Ned: Well, a couple of quick anecdotes. First of all, I got to go in 1964 to I guess it was Town Hall. If I remember correctly, Miles Davis concert with Herbie Hancock, who have you done a podcast with. And - not Wayne Shorter yet, but George Coleman on saxophone. And Tony Williams, I think he was only like 17 at the time. That inspired me to get Blue Note Records, including Herbie's, I've never met him, but I'm using his first name.
Darwin: Yeah. Everybody does, I think he's he's one of those guys, right?
Ned: His album, A Maiden Voyage, which in the jazz band that I played in later at MIT, we would play that. But in 1967, one of my first three paintings was Dolphin Dance, which was inspired by the last tune on, on Herbie's Maiden Voyage album.
But I got to meet Bill Evans. He wrote out on napkins during breaks in the clubs. He wrote out tunes for me and sent me lead sheets of several of his tunes. While I was at MIT I got to study at the Berkelee School of Music during the summer and a summer term with jazz arranging and the various ensemble playing. But I also studied piano with Dean Earl, who was a sideman with Charlie Parker. And I did a correspondence course with Lee Konitz the saxophone player, who played with Lennie Tristano and were very innovative in the 50s and 60s and continuing. It was a very rich musical experience. I saw Bill Evans play his concert at Town Hall that was recorded on Verve.
Darwin: Wow. That must've been amazing.
Ned: It was not only a musical experience. It was a social cultural experience. When you went to see Bill Evans and miles Davis, everybody else in the audience were players as well. Listening to what others were doing. Including when I went and saw Sun Ra who played over in the East Village and there was a Roland Kirk, Rashaan Roland Kirk in the audience. I couldn't help becoming in some ways who I became because of what they used to call the social milieu that I grew up in. Really very fortunate to have experienced that at that time, as they say, "Time is everything and timing is everything." And it was my case.
Darwin: Right. Now, you mentioned that you went to school at MIT, which I think is going to be surprising for people to hear that there was music being taught there, but did you go there as a music student or did you just do music studies as part of another course of study?
Ned: That's an interesting question. We're back to science now. When I entered MIT, it was my intention to be an astronaut - a biologist and an astronaut. Wernher von Braun and NASA had announced in 1986, I'm going to say that again, 1986 Mars mission. They were going to have seven groups of six scientists. One would orbit Mars, and six parties would be landed on Mars. And each party would include a geologist and so forth, including a biologist. And I wanted to be one of those biologists. So I wrote NASA a letter and they said, "Oh, you're going to MIT. That's great. You ought to take ROTC." Blah, blah, so forth and so on these requirements.
So I entered MIT to be an astronaut and did hardcore science for almost three years. To pay student loans and everything, I worked in the organic chemistry department as a part-time assistant and then in the biochemistry department. But by 1968, when I had been working for Bobby Kennedy and he was shot, there were so many forces at work that while it's true, that I took most of my courses at MIT as science, I ended up with a humanities degree and that humanities degree is in music. So I have a bachelor of science and humanities from MIT. And at one point I had a huge course load and I was like a double major, but I couldn't keep that up.
Ned: And I like to tell people that when I entered MIT, I was going into outer space. And when I left MIT, I was going into inner space.
Darwin: Well, I was going to ask because it seems like there's a bit of a leap from hard science, plus jazz to the Grateful Dead. And especially the playing with the Grateful Dead and being on stage with a computer. So first of all, I take it that during your studies in the MIT is when you really encountered computers and you got a chance to get some bones in that world, right?
Ned: No. I had one course that you're required to take at MIT called information science, which is an introductory course. I'm completely self-taught in digital and analog electronics and in computers and had to learn Fortran II, before it was Fortran IV and mostly machine code. The major architecture for computers back then was the IBM 360. And so most of the programming that I did on the computers that I used on stage later was an IBM 360 machine code or in 8080, the first Intel microprocessor that worked - so the Altair computer.
Darwin: Got it. In working with those systems, neither of them are particularly well-known as music computers. I guess the 360 would have had some ... People like Max Matthews, might've had some interaction with developing software for it or whatever, but again, it sounds like you were crankiness out on your own. I'm trying to even find words for figuring out. How did you get started? How did you get an interface between that and what kind of musical equipment where you interfacing it to?
Ned: Okay. Again, we got to go back to when I was a kid, not only did I love biology and had a microscope and all sorts of ... A museum in my bedroom and had a menagerie of little animals and pond creatures and stuff. But I also was into electronics, again on my own. And so I started with a crystal radio that my father gave. And we can get back to that for the sources of electronic music and sounds in a moment.
I built my first one, transistor radio. I avidly read Popular Electronics when I was like eight or nine years old until I built my first one transistor radio and then three transistor radio. When I was 11, I built a working oscilliscope. I had to learn how to solder to do that.
And so I was basically self-taught in electronics. And later on, when I wanted to use computers, it was natural for me to be self-taught in that and not look elsewhere, for education. Again, most people, except people who are into electronics won't understand. This is at the time when the very first integrated circuits were being produced and they were being produced by methods and logic that hasn't existed now for decades. And the first microprocessors didn't exist until like the early 70s through Intel. And so most of what I was doing was analog.
And I used to call it shaping electricity, even when I was working with audio, because when you're working with audio, it's only audio when it comes out of a speaker or a headphone, or is recorded as audio. Prior to that in analog synthesizers, even today, it's all electricity. And so you can understand that from a music perspective or an audio perspective, a physiological perspective as I did, but you could also understand that from shaping electricity, from working with electricity. I wasn't doing electronic music when I was a kid. I had interest in radios and osillisopes and Geiger counters and things like that.
Ned: But one project that did stick with me was electronic bongos. In the 60s, if you remember, you can even see them in some movies and TV. Since, bongos became a favorite instantly.
Darwin: Yeah. Beatnik tool, right?
Ned: Yeah, exactly. Maynard G. Krebs. Dobie Gillis, for those of you don't know what the reference is. And the bongos were triggered by little capacitive plates that you made. But the bongo sound was made by creating a resonant filter through analog circuitry and then hitting it with a pulse. So it would resonate and make a sound. And later on, I hooked that circuitry that I had made earlier when I was a kid to the Altair in '75, 1975. Almost a decade later to make some electronic percussion.
Darwin: Oh, that's amazing.
Ned: And people may not understand this, again because it's such ancient history. When I was doing electronic music, there was no digital memory cost-effective that you could do sampling. So digital music then in a sense, was digital control of analog synthesis.
And I did do a little digital synthesis, but digital synthesis then, which was outputting pulses, digital pulses. And when we get into Seastones, I'll describe a little bit more of that perhaps. But my first computer, the computer that we talked about, when I performed live. That had 16 kilobytes of memory, magnetic core memory, and the Altair that I performed with later. The first really literally personal computer, desktop computer had 256 bytes, which eventually I expanded like to 1K, one kilobyte - that's the storage for a very, very short email today.
Darwin: Yeah. Well, I got to tell you that it's funny because I just last night was reading on a forum, someone complaining about a modern sampler that only had two gigabytes of memory available and how could anyone possibly work with such a cramped workspace? I started thinking about the limitations you're dealing with and it's a little mind numbing. So in the case of using computers in this kind of environment, then. Were you doing things like storing sequences, or were you making small programs that were generating sequences? What was the actual function of the computer in that environment? And also, what was it interfacing to? Were you using a big modular system or did you have some other sound making tools available to you?
Ned: Okay, let me describe it from a snapshot in time of 1970s, 1974. Seastones and computers predates that, and we'll come back to it. But the system that I performed on stage with was an early E-mu Modular System, which had four oscillators and four VCAs to control the amplifiers, et cetera. And this was when E-mu was like a year old or less when we started building this system.
And they built the system at the same time for Frank Zappa, I believe in one or two other people. I had used Buchlas before that at Brandeis at their electronic music studio, I had used the ARP 2600 I'd use the ARP 2500, but I chose an E-mu. And the first thing I asked them for my synthesizer was everything that has a knob, like a voltage-controlled oscillator. Every knob has to have a jack, so it could be voltage-controlled. For some things, that's just standard procedure. But for other things like attack the case, sustain release transit generator.
Darwin: Sure. Right. It was uncommon at the time. Yeah.
Ned: And even voltage processors could be controlled with voltages rather than just having a knob. So what I told E-mu, Scott and Dave Rossum, I said, "Everything is voltage-controllable." And that allowed me to have a patch bay - as it were - of jacks and stuff where the output of the computer through 16 channels of digital/analog converter could be used to control the synthesizer.
So the first thing you could do was set up a patch and then save that patch as a list, a tabular list of voltage outputs to DACs, the digital/analog converters. And remember all of this is in machine code. So it's really very tedious. And at the same time, E-mu was thinking about a polyphonic keyboard. So they took the polyphonic keyboard that they were building without their microprocessor in it, which they developed at the same time that they developed my system and the output of the polyphonic keyboard went into the computer. So the computer would scan the keyboard, 30 times a second, 60 times a second, and just make a simple table of what was on and off.
So I had a polyphonic keyboard that was created by the computer. Not hardwired, it was a microprocessor inside. And then finally I wanted it done this way instead of waiting for them, E-mu, to finish their microprocessor version, because I wanted to use polyphonic keyboards, not just for pitch. Polyphonic scales on the keyboard could be used for rhythms. They could be used for textures. They could be used for other things.
Darwin: It was literally a signal generator for you, in a way.
Ned: Yeah. That different keys meant different things, but they didn't necessarily mean notes, piano notes, audio.
Darwin: So then you use the computer as kind of like your translation table for getting from a keyboard expression to say, a patch's rewiring or a patch's filter settings or something like that. Is that what you're saying?
Ned: Yes. But again, we're probably jumping ahead.
Darwin: That's okay. It's great. We're just going to surf the knowledge here, because it's all amazing, frankly.
Ned: Okay. Because the instrument that I was building, that I imagined was an ensemble instrument. So that whoever I was playing with in this case, it would be Phil Lesh, Jerry Garcia, Mickey Hart, David Crosby, others could have their instruments go into my system. And as I said, there wasn't a lot of ... There was some primitive analog to digital, expensive analog to digital stuff, but there wasn't any way to really do a lot of high-speed signal processing at that point in time because of the computers of the day.
But you could control their analog signals. So I could take a signal and particularly you could use gates and triggers and envelopes extracted from other people's work, other people's playing. So the computer was a way of organizing and composing group interaction and group improvisation. A very simplistic example is, I could play a chord on my keyboard, but you wouldn't hear it unless Jerry or Phil were playing notes that opened up the VCA that was controlling my audio output and vice versa.
Darwin: Got it. Okay. Ah, that's so very interesting. That explains something to me because one of the things I was going to ask you was that, I mean, this sounds incredibly, almost like tortured to get some of this primitive gear to work. And I was curious at the time it was a lot more common, if you were trying to do this kind of music or these kinds of explorations to build your work around a tape studio, right? And get deeply into tape manipulation and tape splicing, or multi-tracking and all that kind of stuff as a way to get some of these things done. But if your goal was to, in real time, interact with live performers, tape wasn't going to do you any good.
Ned: That would depend to some extent on the studio. And let me explain that. First of all, one of the things that brought me to California and the Grateful Dead was the opportunity to work with 16 track tape recorders.
And in 1970, they had just started appearing cost-effectively in personal musician's studios, rather than just in the more expensive professional studios. The Grateful Dead had their own 16 tracks. Prior to that, they had been recording on eight tracks and even on four tracks.
If you think about it, it allows you to step back and compose outside of the ongoing flow of time. You can go back and overdub and overdub and overdub. And that's a different way of thinking about music than it is just recording a live performance, no matter how many people are playing, you have a limited number of microphones or tracks. So 16 track technology opened up music. And it's the metaphor that you see today, even today in Pro Tools and Ableton Live and other systems, they all are based on multi-track recording, 16 or more tracks. When we did Seastones, and again, we're jumping around. When we did Seastones in the studio and recorded, we didn't have a lot of digital delays. Again, a cost of memory and technology hadn't proceeded that far yet, but you could create delays on a 16 track by recording on one track and then bouncing to the next track. And then the next track. And you could have 16 offset tracks of delay.
And now here's the kicker to it. If you voltage-controlled, and remember I said, we voltage-controlled everything. We actually voltage-controlled the 16 track. You could control and ramp up and ramp down the speed of the 16 track and hence the delays by control, including by my keyboard. So I could play with my digital polyphonic keyboard. I could play the 16 track.
Darwin: Got it. Interesting.
Ned: And you have to think about a 16 track or a tape recorder back then as memory. So you didn't have a sampler, but you had a 16 track and you could choose to output any one or more of those 16 tracks that you'd recorded at any given time with different voltage-controlled VCAs. And it gets very complex with different delays and transient attack/decay/release. So you could get a huge variety through voltage control and polyphonic keyboard and controlling tape machines.
Darwin: Wow. I'll just describe it. It sounds like a fabulous mess. I mean, it must've been an incredibly complex system to manage and maintain and set up whenever you needed to set it up.
Ned: Well, we never performed live on stage with the 16 track. We did that in the studio. But again, people need to remember that when we mixed Seastones, for example, there was no automated mixing. There was no Pro Tools. There was no automated mix boards with faders. So it took two or three people to do a mix with hands all over the place all the time.
As the old saying goes, "Where there's a will, there's a way." We had to invent things as we went along.
Darwin: Yeah. Now, one of the things I'm curious about with all of these different technologies and all the different things that you do, an awful lot of it was done by you just having the self-generated need to figure these things out and finding a way to figure them out. But also you've talked about a number of people that you kind of interacted with along the way. Obviously the people like Phil Lesh and Jerry Garcia, David Crosby, who are kind of in that orbit, but also dealing with Dave Rossum and the folks at E-mu. What are some of the people that kind of in your mind highlighted the people that helped bring this stuff together over that like late 60s to mid 70s timeframe, through the Seastones recording? Who are the people that kind helped bring this thing together.
Ned: There's a couple of different categories from the couple of different life zones. The first ones that come to mind are David Friend, and to a lesser extent, Alan Perlman. The first analog synthesizers that I knew about prior to my work at Brandeis and then at my work at Brandeis was ARP. And ARP was just ... I think they started in 1970 with the 2500, which was at Brandeis and then the 2600 both of which I used on Seastones. And I visited ARP in Newton, Massachusetts, in their little brick office building. And they gave me a tour of the few people who were making potted modules. And I bought some potted modules from the 2500 and wired them up myself. And they gave me schematics of how to wire them up. They were very friendly and outgoing people and they actually lent me ... And I hope I get this number, correct. I think it was called at 1601. They lent me the prototype for Seastones for the sequencer that was added to the 2600.
Ned: And I still have those potted modules somewhere in the mess in my house. They were a little black boxes, copper clad, wrapped in copper. Then staying on the music track or the music electronic music track later on in '74, '75, years later. I got to meet John Chowning and Andy Moore at Stanford AI. And they made me a guest user at Stanford, but it was so far away that I used that opportunity in a very limited way.
Ned: But they lent me their quad joystick. They had been working on FM synthesis as everybody knows, but they also have been working on a spatial location cues and moving sound around. So Seastones utilized their prototype quad joystick. And so they were very supportive and very helpful, but also going back in time, MIT professors, not directly in terms of electronic music, but in terms of generative systems. I studied with Noam Chomsky in 1968. I had a course with him called intellectual and social change. It wasn't about linguistics, but I read his books and they were the talk of the town as it were back in middle/late 60s. And he is credited with creating the word generative, which had to do with generating sequences of words and sentences out of a limited set of rules.
But also other MIT professors who opened up worlds of math, Gene Carlo Rhoda, and other professors. And in particular, Jerry Lethin who was a neurophysiologist, but he turned me on to Norbert Wiener; and Norbert Wiener wrote a book in 1948 that was published by MIT that created the word cybernetics. And cybernetics drew the analogies between biological systems and electronic and mechanical systems. And it's the basis for a lot of software and AI development to this day. And you'll remember when we had our first conversation, I mentioned to you that the major impact in terms of pop culture of Norbert Wiener's cybernetics book and in effect science and engineering and math all over the world, but it's major. Our first effect on the pop culture was in the 1956 movie Forbidden Planet, where the score was done by Bebe and Louis Barron.
And they had just read Northern Wiener's book and started designing their own electronic circuits. Evolutionary, evolving cybernetic feedback circuits to control ring modulators, and to stretch them to the limit. I saw Forbidden Planet as a kid. I didn't learn about the cybernetics connection for a few years later when I was at MIT, but one of the interesting things about MIT was: it's the hallmark of technology and a technological solution to everything in the world. And now, we live in a world that I think is suffering from what I call technosis.
And the message in Forbidden Planet was, this earth ship visits this planet where the race of beings, the super-intelligent race of beings that had formerly inhabited and now is extinct on the planet, had built a computer system that incorporated all their psychology, their id, and it was the psychology and the software, the social software that destroyed their culture. I hope Facebook isn't listening.
Darwin: Well, you know what though? Maybe it's worth it if we get Krell music out of it. Right?
Darwin: Well Ned, I feel like we have just cracked the surface of these discussions and we have yet to get into discussions about the development of Seastones and your process and composition and stuff. And so what I would like to do is I would like to set this aside right here and pick up in a next conversation, a part two, where we talk a little further about how you use these tools along with what your vision for music and sound and lyrical creation are. And kind of bring everything together in a Part 2 interview. Is that good with you?
Ned: Okay. Thank you very much for today.
Darwin: Thank you. It was wonderful. If nothing else, it was just a fabulous chance to have a great conversation. So thank you.
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