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:
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.
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more
Col. Bruce Hampton RIP – The phrase "He died doing what he loved" is almost a cliche, but in the case of Col. Bruce Hampton, it couldn't be more true. Hampton, who was born Gustav Berglund III, collapsed on stage at his own 70th birthday celebration and later passed away. The event took place at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. » Read more
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more
Allan Holdsworth RIP – Surely in the list of artists who have contributed to the sound of modern music, there is a special spot for guitarist Allan Holdsworth. His name is known to virtually every student of the instrument in jazz and rock, and his style has been so widely emulated that it's hardly worth mentioning anymore — we can just assume that every guitarist has Holdsworth as an influence. » Read more