Noah’s Ark: Primates

In a follow up to my a-peeling Bananas blog, and in anticipation of the movie Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which opens in US theaters on August 5, 2011, here are some album covers featuring some primates. Monkeys, gorillas, chimpanzees, orangutans, gibbons, baboons, Beiber fans … humans. Oops, not humans. Basically hairy things that can stand on two legs and throw excrement at you when provoked — but not humans.

Supertramp – Brother Where You Bound (1985)

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Buy NowOkay, I lied about the humans! Just for this first cover from super group Supertramp. The cover for the English rock band’s ninth studio album, Brother Where You Bound, could easily double for one of the main underlying themes in the Planet of the Apes movies — evolution. As you can see, that’s a moronic dribbling knuckle-humping two-armed James Franco on the far left and an articulate upright John Lithgow on the right!

The New Pornographers
Electric Version (2003)
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Grinderman
Grinderman (2007)
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And in another unlikely link to the movie series, Canadian indie band The New Pornographers have depicted the time-honored tradition of monkeys in space on their second studio album. On a side note and totally unrelated to the cover, Ham the Astrochimp was the first chimpanzee launched into outer space in the American space program. The date: Jan 31, 1961. His flight time: 16 minutes and 39 seconds. Ham lived for 17 years and passed away in 1983. Awwww.

Nick Cave’s alternative rock band Grinderman went all out for a swinging green simian grooving it out on the disco dance-floor, from the looks of it. All members of Grinderman are also active musicians in Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, and the band was originally called the Mini Seeds. Their eponymous debut album was recorded in four days and was acclaimed by critics on it’s release. The long awaited follow up, Grinderman 2, was released in 2010.

Talking Heads – Naked (1988)

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Buy NowNew Wave band Talking Heads, fronted by David Byrne, decided to use an ornately framed image of a nude, flower-wielding monkey on their eighth and last studio album, Naked. Tracks include Totally Nude and (Nothing But) Flowers. Go figure! The band was inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002. While four of their albums were included in Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, this isn’t one of them.

Juicebox – Popcorn 69 (2006) thumb Buy Now   Anna Ternheim – What Have I Done? (2008) thumb Buy Now

And next we have a wacky cover from Dutch Band Juicebox featuring a giant chimpanzee complete with white toque (chef’s hat), set in what looks like 1960s Main Street small town America, reminiscence of all those 1950s and ’60s B-Grade sci-fi horrors (anyone still have nightmares of Attack of the 50ft Woman?). Which is where the popcorn comes in handy! Maybe it’s meant to be 1969. I just don’t know, and I won’t be able to sleep tonight because of it.

Swedish singer-songwriter Anna Ternheim, decided a frozen blue monkey in falling snow would look really neat all dressed up on the cover for her single What Have I Done?, the first single from her fourth full length EP, 2009’s Leaving on a Mayday. The album won Album of the Year at the 2009 Swedish Grammy Awards along with the award for Best Female Artist. Not sure about you, but I always see this cover and feel sorry for the monkey, he/she looks so sad and cold and lonely. Awwww!!

Basement Jaxx – Rooty (2001)

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Buy NowSay hello to “Nfumu Ngui” aka “Floquet de Neu” aka “Snowflake” munching away on the cover of Basement Jaxx‘s second studio album. Fritz has just posted an interesting Déjà Vu entry featuring this cover, with more information about Snowflake, the only known albino gorilla. Barcelona Zoo were unaware of just how unique he was and sent a message to Sabater Pi, who found him, saying, “Please send more white gorillas.” Snowflake’s fame helped to promote awareness of the endangered gorilla species. He sired 22 offspring, none of whom were albino, and lived to see his grandchildren. Awwww.

The video for the third single from Rooty, Where’s Your Head At?, directed by Tom Webb, is almost as famous as the song. If you haven’t seen it, watch it. Suffice to say that the band members’ heads superimposed on monkeys is only part of the whole story. I have no idea why the cover for the single features an ostrich head!

Curious George 2
Follow That Monkey (2010)
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  Pixies
Doolittle (1989)
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Curious George is main character in a set of children’s books from the early 1940s. In 2006, an animated film was made, featuring Will Ferrell as the voice of “The Man with the Yellow Hat”. The soundtrack was comprised of music from Jack Johnston. The soundtrack for the 2010 sequel, pictured above, is a compilation from artists Carbon Leaf, Jackie Greene and Heiter Pereira, as well as the hit California Sun by Brian Wilson.

The artwork for American alternative rockers, Pixies‘ second studio album, was designed by British graphic designer Vaughan Oliver (who has also designed covers for Throwing Muses, Cocteau Twins, Dead Can Dance, and The Breeders, among others). The cover references the themes in the track Monkey Gone to Heaven, and depicts a stuffed monkey, with a halo and the numbers five, six and seven above it (“if man is five… then the Devil is six… then God is seven”). The album is ranked at #226 on Rolling Stones 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.

“There are several different printings of this cover. The original is a
metallic ink that was probably expensive to produce. Subsequent versions
are in a brown ink. Scans of the metallic version vary quite a bit
because it is reflective and difficult to scan.” – Fritz.

The Black Eyed Peas – Renegotiations: The Remixes (2006)

Posted by: Music Hogimage

Buy NowThe cover for The Black Eyed Peas‘ EP, Renegotiations: The Remixes, depicts a rather dapper and carefully combed and groomed young chimp in his Sunday best, and is presented in an old-style-shaped oval portrait. Which is a nice tie in to the fact that the Extended Play is comprised of songs and remixes of songs from their 2005 album Monkey Business.

Extra for Experts: A monkey is a primate and not a type of ape, an ape is a primate and not a type of monkey, and a chimpanzee is a type of ape (so it’s a primate but not a monkey). [And yes, I mixed them all up and have no idea what exactly is on what cover! Except for James Franco.] And the smallest monkey in the world is the pygmy marmoset, which can grow to a height of 14 to 16cms. Also called a dwarf monkey, here’s a picture of one. Reminds me of my sister … the good looking one 🙂 . So now you know!

Homework: The phrase “cold enough to freeze the balls off (or on) a brass monkey.”

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Noah’s Ark: Penguins

Well, since “Happy Feet” is in the global news at the moment, it’s time we checked out some penguins on album covers. And yes, Noah had a penguin stall on his ark, right next to his tux and the goldfish tank.

Happy Feet Soundtrack (2006)

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No! Not that Happy Feet! That’s a movie. I’m talking about “Happy Feet”, the nickname of an emperor penguin who came ashore on New Zealand’s North Island some five days ago. That’s a long, long way from home. In fact, its only ever the second time one has been sighted in NZ (the other one was in 1967 in the South Island). And being confused, Happy ate a pile of sand thinking it was snow, got very sick and has now had a number of operations. Happy is getting better and will most likely fly back to Antarctica when daylight resumes down there in several months time. You can read more about Happy here.

The Penguin Cafe Orchestra
Music from the Penguin Cafe (1976)

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  The Penguin Cafe Orchestra
Signs of Life (1987)

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The Penguin Cafe Orchestra was a collective of performing musicians created by classically trained British guitarist, composer and arranger Simon Jeffes. PCO recorded and performed for 24 years until Jeffes died of a brain tumour in 1997. Almost all their album covers feature penguins or people wearing penguin heads, or both.

Mr Popper’s Penguins Soundtrack (2011)

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Mr. Popper’s Penguins, which opened in US theaters June 17th, is a family comedy family starring Jim Carrey (as Mr. Popper) and is based on the 1938 children’s book of the same name, by Richard and Florence Atwater. I’ve never read the book, but I’m guessing the penguin top right with the brighter orange beak might be “Captain Cook”.

Supergrass – Lenny (1995)thumb
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  Status Quo – Whatever You Want (1979)thumb

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Fleetwood Mac
Penguin (1973)

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  Shelly Manne & His Men
Shelly Manne & His Friends Vol. 1 (1995)


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English alternative rock band Supergrass
obviously decided that Lenny should be Lord Mayor of the penguins for the fourth single from their album I Should Coco. Lenny reached #10 in the UK singles chart. Another British rock band, Status Quo, used penguins on a few covers, including the first single and track of the same name from their 99th studio album. Sorry! Make that the 12th studio album – they only produced 29. The track was later re-recorded for their 2003 album Riffs. Fleetwood Mac, a British-American rock group (gee those Brits get around), couldn’t decide on the artwork for their seventh studio album, Penguin. They eventually decided on a penguin, the band mascot most favored by John McVie. And the 1995 compilation release of some Shelly Manne 1950’s recordings, depicts three penguins. Trust me, they’re penguins. And that’s all folks … I’m all penguin-ed out!

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Noah’s Ark: Bulls

The long awaited sequel to Noah’s Ark: Cows is here. No bull! Or rather, lots of bull. Below are seven examples of bovine inspired album covers depicting bulls. Not cows and not steers (castrated bulls). We can tell this because they are all big muscular beasts with pointy things on their heads (no, not the ears), some being pitted against matadors, and in the case of Dude Ranch and 0816, we can “see” they’re male, if you know what I mean.

Ry Cooder – Borderline (1980)

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zeefritz
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Ry Cooder was ranked 8th on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of “The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.” A 2010 ranking by Gibson placed him at #32. He is a music legend whose work has spanned five decades, and at age 74, he’s still producing the goods.

Bootsauce – Bull (1992)thumbBuy Now   The White Stripes – Conquest (2007)thumb
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Canadian rock band Bootsauce made their own bull out of all-sorts for the cover of their third studio album and The White Stripes went with their trademark black, white and red color scheme for their single Conquest. It was the third single from the album Icky Thump, and was released as a series of 7″ colored vinyl singles, each with a trading card featuring famous matadors El Sloth, El Bianca Rosa or El Perdador. The song is a cover version, originally written by Corky Robbins and popularized in the 1950s by Patti Page.

Blink-182 – Dude Ranch (1997)

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uberchemist


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Buy NowBlink-182‘s second album, Dude Ranch, depicts a bull with the band’s name branded on it’s rear end. The art was painted by Lou Beach. The packaging is decorated by images of the band as cowboys and the gatefold features a painting stating “Greetings from the Blink-182 Dude Ranch” as a parody of Bruce Springsteen’s Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. The Dude Ranch cover reminds me a lot of Pink Floyd’s Atom Heart Mother, which depicts Lulubelle III’s (that’s the cow’s name) rear to the fore whilst she looks back at the camera.

Bull Angus – Bull Angus (1971)thumb
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  Bligg – 0816 (2008)
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Bull Angus, a psychedelic rock band, used a giant bull angus in their self titled album. The cover design is by Dan Clyne. Angus’ brother, Black Angus, ended up as dinner at the Black Angus Steakhouse as punishment for being bad. Marco Bliggensdorfer, known as Bligg, is a rapper from Switzerland. His album covers feature black and white photography of animals and birds. His album 0816, which depicts a magnificent brute of a beast, reached #1 on the Swiss charts.

ABC – Beauty Stab (1983)

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Buy NowUK New Wave band ABC‘s second studio album, Beauty Stab, depicts a painting by Keith Breeden of a bullfight. On a side note; Martin Fry, listed as the only active member on Wikipedia, used to write a fanzine, before his ABC days, for the band Vice Versa called Modern Drugs – those were the days (*sigh*).

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Noah’s Ark: Butterflies

After my evil sneaky attack on innocent teddy bears last Noah’s Ark installment, today we will focus on lovely, ethereal, fairy-like, beautifully-patterned, fluttery butterflies. There are literally thousands of album covers with butterflies out there. Here are just seven interesting examples that grabbed my attention. Welcome to Lepidopterology 101. Please be seated, cellphones off and pencils ready.

Amon Tobin – ISAM (2011)


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Aequi


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Amon Tobin, a Brazilian DJ and electronic music producer, chose a lovely example of the Old World Swallowtail (Papilio machaon) for the digital version of his latest album ISAM. The cover of the physical release also shows the cycle of life, and the Limited Edition is accompanied by a CD artbook featuring images from Control Over Nature by artist Tessa Farmer. The images are thematically related to the music of ISAM.

Emilíana Torrini – Merman (1996)
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  Emilíana Torrini – Rarities (2010)
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Emilíana Torrini loves butterflies.The Icelandic beauty, who sang Gollum’s Song in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, has them plastered (or pinned) all over two of her albums. All the butterflies on her 2010 compilation album Rarities are real specimens except the big black and white one.

The 88 – Not Only… But Also (2008)


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Foundation


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Californian indie rock band The 88 furiously cross-bred holometabolous insects by the thousands, blowing their entire budget in one week, but cleverly (and luckily) hit the jackpot with the Eighty-eight Butterfly (Diaethria anna). They almost recouped their loses when the butterfly turned out to be the winning number in that weeks SuperLotto Plus California State Lottery, but alas, they had left the window open. Actually, I made that up. The cat got him.

Freebass – Two Worlds Collide EP (2010)
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  Jack Prybylski – Out of the Box (2010)

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English band Freebass (made up of three bassists), choose (and I’m guessing here) the Monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) for their debut EP. I have no idea how the poor blighter is holding himself up. And jazz musician and award winning saxophonist Jack Prybylski (purr-bill-ski) also went for a bright orange, yellow and black, upright butterfly for his third solo release. I’m guessing that if it wasn’t “out of the box”, it would be pinned down “in the box” as all good entomologists know how to do (please refer to Emilíana Torrini’s Rarities above).

Heart – Dog & Butterfly (1978)


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Zeefritz


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And lastly in this installment of butterflies (yes, there will be more), we have the delightful Dog & Butterfly cover art from English rock band Heart’s fourth studio album. Dog & Butterfly was also the name of one of the two hit singles from the album. Of note, Side One of the album was the “Dog” rockin’ side and Side Two was considered the “Butterfly” ballads side. The illustration is by Fuding Cheng.

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Noah’s Ark: Teddy Bears

Yes. Teddy Bears ARE real. And that’s why GOD loves them and Noah saved them and they’re in this category! Now, none of this “namby-pamby”, “let’s go down to the woods today”, little cutesy Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt inspired creatures on picnics in storybook tales with fluffy tails and all things honey. Just say “NO” to Pooh. We want teddy bears with character.

Kerli – Army of Love [Remixes] (2011)


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zeefritz


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I’m not sure what’s up with Estonian Kerli Kõiv (Kerli). Her debut album Love Is Dead, was spooky and creepy, and she was very ghostly, deathly, emo and goth-like to a degree, hanging around in cemeteries with her creepy little doll. Now, after being dropped on her head whilst on the Alice in Wonderland Soundtrack (either that or she drank too much tea at The Tea Party), she’s gone all about face in her single Army of Love and carries around a teddy bear and is the sweetest thing ever.

Now don’t get me wrong. I absolutely dig her music, and her persona(s). I can’t get enough of Army of Love right now, which has reached number one on the Billboard’s Hot Dance Club Songs. Whilst the cover above for the Remixes EP shows Kerli holding a teddy bear and her top sports a teddy bear emblem on the left, the official video goes even further. She not only carries a teddy bear around, so do her army, and they use “teddy bear” gas masks.

Muse
Uprising (2009)


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  Camera Obscura
Under Achievers Please Try Harder (2003)


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Speaking of armies of teddy bears, the cover for Muse‘s single Uprising, from their fifth studio album The Resistance, shows just that. Don’t say you weren’t warned — they’re coming for us all. Hide your honey pots. Camera Obscura are clearly holding Reichsführer-SS Teddy Bear, don’t let the pink disguise and fake glasses fool you.

Richard Thompson – Dream Attic (2010)


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zeefritz


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Richard Thompson‘s 2010 album Dream Attic, consisting of live and unedited (no studio dubs) new material recorded on a two week tour of the Western USA, depicts a rather unusual teddy bear. An almost lonely and forgotten toy, in the attic. Or maybe it’s a gem to be unwrapped and discovered. Or maybe it hides a horror! All I will say, is that the album entered the British charts in the top 20 album sales on it’s release.

It’s Like Love
You’re Too Sweet for Rock & Roll (2009)


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  Störungstelle
I’m Innocent (2008)


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It’s Like Love, a “harder wave”, “punk style” quintet, with such catchy tunes as You Put the Whore in Sorority and Alcohol Brings Out the Bedroom Eyes are clearly using the juxtaposition of a naughty girl and and a good teddy. Störungstelle (Joren Hemeryck, a Begian electronic, drum n bass artist) is clearly doing the same, stating “I’m Innocent” and toting a gun. Clearly these are evil teddy bears and a bad influence. Or is that the other way round?

The Cranberries – Promises (1999)


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Aequi


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And lastly my favorite. The first single from The Cranberries‘ 1999 album Bury the Hatchet, Promises was released in two CD versions. Whilst CD1 depicts a happy looking cuddly toy with arms wide open begging for a hug, CD2 is the exact same image but with the bear going up in flames. The subject of the song Promises, in case you were wondering, is divorce.

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Noah’s Ark: Cows

Now before anyone gets excited and comments that some of these can’t be cows because they have horns, I’ll just say that some cows can have horns, depending on the breed, it’s just that they are usually de-horned for safety reasons. Additionally, the word cow can mean a domestic bovine of either sex and any age. And if the album title contains “cow”, then it belongs here. Bulls will be covered in the next Noah’s Ark installment.

I’ve chosen a selection of interesting, funny, famous and varied covers. I’ve ignored the hundreds of generic mainly American album covers with cowboys and herds and boring big cow faces licking the camera type shots. Instead, I have cows in a car, cows in “action”, a cow diagram for butchers, a confused cow, a cow’s rear end … and some udder… err… other ones.

Gotthard – Made in Switzerland: Live in Zürich (2006)

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Martini Ranch – Holy Cow (1988) thumb Buy Now   Foo Fighters – For All the Cows (1995) thumb Buy Now

I’d never “herd” of State Cows before (pun intended), but I dig the cover for their self-titled album. That 1957 Chevrolet Bel-air (or so my reliable car enthusiast sources tell me) isn’t going anywhere fast by the looks of the front right flat tire. In fact, I think the whole lot of them, including the dog, are just pretending to be cruising down a highway.

State Cows – State Cows (2010)

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Aerosmith’s 11th and Bloodhound Gang’s third studio albums both prominently feature udders, cleverly making fun of the albums’ titles. The cover art for Bloodhound Gang below is for the “Edited” version, and the full title is Hooray for Boobies. The appropriated named Get a Grip, also features Aerosmith’s logo as a cattle brand, while the back cover is fully taken over by another similar branding image.

Aerosmith – Get a Grip
(1993)
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  Bloodhound Gang – Hooray for Boobies (1999) thumb Buy Now

Atom Heart Mother was the fifth studio album from Pink Floyd. The original album cover shows a cow standing in a pasture with no text nor any other clue as to what might be on the record. More cows appear on the back cover, again with no text or titles, and on the inside gatefold. The liner notes give a recipe for whole stuffed camel … mmm … stuffed camel. Some later editions have the title and artist name added.

Using a somewhat plain cover was Pink Floyd’s way of getting away from all the space rock psychedelic imagery associated with them. The album artwork and photogrpahy was created by Storm Thorgerson who, inspired by Andy Warhol’s famous “cow-wallpaper”, has said that he simply drove out into a rural area near Potters Bar and photographed the first cow he saw. The cow’s owner identified her name as Lulubelle III.

I find it hilarious that the front cover shows a cow’s rear, whilst the back cover shows cows front on. Subsequent releases by Pink Floyd included more cow imagery, including Pinkie Milkie and others such as Dark Side of the Moo (a 1986 bootleg recording). The Atom Heart Mother artwork and concept has spawned many, many imitations during it’s 40 years – but none come close to the original, free tasty camel recipe and all !

Pink Floyd – Atom Heart Mother (1970)

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