Exposé Online banner

M.I.A. — Cornonstipicum
(Belle Antique 111892, 1978/2011, CD)

M.I.A. — Mágicos Juegos del Tiempo
(Belle Antique 111891, 1977/2011, CD)

M.I.A. — Transparencias
(Belle Antique 111890, 1976/2011, CD)

by Mike McLatchey, 2016-07-07:

Cornonstipicum Cover artMágicos Juegos del Tiempo Cover artTransparencias Cover art

McLatchey's Second Tier

Crucis weren't the only brilliant Argentinian 70s group, but I'm not sure they were quite as young as some of the players in the collective known as Musica Independientes Asociados. In particular I believe keyboards player Lito Vitale was in his mid-teens when they recorded their debut Transparencias. If Crucis were a pretty dyed-in-the-wool international band taking most of their cues from the American and European players of the day, MIA combined those influences with the folkier side of Latin America, although by the time of Cornonstipicum they were genuinely in symphonic progressive rock territory. This is a beautiful album with gentle melodies and vocals that created a reputation among collectors of rarer 70s progressive albums back in the day where you'd cross your fingers and send money to some far away address found in Goldmine magazine. There's a lot of wonderful synthesizer activity, particularly if you're like me and are delighted by wobbly monophonic analog leads. I don't see this one discussed all that much anymore, although the albums were well received when first reissued in Japan in the 90s. But I still consider this one of the classic from the southern hemisphere.


by Mike McLatchey, 1995-03-01:

Belle Antique has gone all out on their most recent set of reissues — the backlog of the brilliant Argentine ensemble M.I.A. M.I.A. was multi-instrumentalist (mainly keys) Lito Vitale's late 70s project and are practically impossible to sum up with a simple description. Their debut was Transparencias, an exquisite album of classical rock. While this album, and especially the later ones, were quite diverse within themselves, the music here remains the most inwardly similar of the three. There are similarities to classical rock groups like Ekseption, The Trip, The Nice, early Atila, Trace, and many others (themes from Bach and "Pomp and Circumstance" make appearances) but M.I.A. are more original with an unmistakable Latin feel. The side long title cut is worth the album alone — a complex and involved progressive epic.

Mágicos Juegos del Tiempo was a far different album with a stronger more folk oriented air. In fact it's not until five minutes into the album that you hear the drums. While Mágicos is quite different from its predecessor, it is more diverse, with strong Mike Oldfield influences. M.I.A.'s musicians practically all double on different instruments and the permutations add up to an album of varying music from folky and serene to aggressive and jamming. Overall a very charming and unique album, yet the least immediate of the three.

For those unfamiliar with the group, their third album Cornonstipicum is probably the best place to start. Overall Cornonstipicum is the most "progressive rock" of the three, with fusion, rock, folk, and even Canterbury influences. There is a side long cut here, a veritable masterpiece of great thematic development, agile drumming (by Lito Vitale no less), and unique twists and turns. This album is a highly recommended classic and certainly one of the best ever from Argentina. As a bonus, Belle Antique has added around (give or take per CD) 20 minutes on each title from the ambitious 1979 triple album Conciertos. These bonus tracks show M.I.A. in a different light with guitar duos, piano solos, vocal solos, and other more unusual combinations. All of these show that M.I.A. were a group constantly exploring new boundaries and musical growth. All of these come highly recommended, M.I.A. were a unique musical ensemble with a definite progressive ethic.


Filed under: Reissues , Issue 6 , 2011 releases, 1978 releases, 2011 releases, 1977 releases, 2011 releases, 1976 releases

Related artist(s): M.I.A., Lito Vitale

More info

Latest news

2018-01-05
Ray Thomas RIP – On Thursday, 4 January 2017, the world lost Ray Thomas, founding member of the Moody Blues. Thomas sang and played flute, and was responsible for writing a number of the band's most memorable songs. He was 76. » Read more

2017-12-22
Roswell Rudd RIP – Jazz trombonist Roswell Rudd, one of the distinctive players of his instrument in many strains of music, has died at the age of 82. With a career stretching back to the early 60s and over a hundred recordings featuring his playing, he leaves behind a substantial legacy. He was diagnosed with cancer in 2013. » Read more

2017-11-16
Celebrate 10 Years of Fruits de Mer – As a special celebration for a decade of cool vinyl releases, our friends at Fruits de Mer records have prepared a limited edition reissue of an album by the first band ever to appear on the label: Schizo Fun Addict. The band is known for unusual release strag » Read more

2017-11-02
Mega Dodo Presents New Charity Album – Our friends at Mega Dodo have put together a lovely compilation of their artists performing new arrangements of nursery rhymes, and all the profits from sales of the album will benefit Save the Children. It features a number of artists we've covered. » Read more

2017-10-18
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Garmarna - Vittrad – Garmarna are doing their part to bring Swedish traditional music into the modern age, coupling the medieval sound of droning fiddles and folk melodies with energetic drums, electric guitars, and...  (1999) » Read more

Tony Harn - Loops – Ever since his 1998 debut, From the Inside, English guitarist Tony Harn has demonstrated a keen knack for creating densely layered instrumentals revolving around his harmonically nuanced and textural...  (2008) » Read more

Nerv - Ragam – Since Discus first unleashed itself on the world in ’99, it seems like there’s a limitless number of Indonesian prog rock bands coming out in their wake, and this six-piece...  (2006) » Read more

Christopher Froh / Christopher Burns - Triptych – So if a tryptich is an art work that has three parts, for example three panels in a hinged painting that opens up, how come this musical tryptich has five tracks? The answer is that two of them are...  (2011) » Read more

Shawn Phillips with J Peter Robinson and Paul Buckmaster - Living Collaboration – Hot on the heels of his Living Contribution concert DVD is Living Collaboration, recorded at the Minnesota Zoological Gardens the evening of July 19, 2008. Living Collaboration is a bit different from...  (2010) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues