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

Seaprog 2018 Artist Announcements Raise Festival's Profile – Seattle's Seaprog festival has been going since 2013, and the 2018 edition features a slate of artists that's sure to bring more attention to the event. Cheer-Accident, Bubblemath, and Free Salamander Exhibit are in the first round announcement of performers. In keeping with their tradition of focusing on regional artists, they will also present a number of artists from Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia. [Edit: Just added: Inner Ear Brigade] » Read more

Adelbert von Deyen RIP – Word reaches us that German electronic musician Adelbert von Deyen has died. His recorded legacy reaches back to 1978, when Sky Records released Sternzeit. Von Deyen, who was born October 25, 1953 in Süderbrarup, was also known as a painter and graphic artist. » Read more

Didier Lockwood RIP – Word reaches us today of the death of one of France's great jazz musicians, violinist Didier Lockwood. His playing bridged many worlds, from traditional jazz to fusion to progressive rock, and his talent can be heard on recordings by Magma, Clearlight, Pierre Moerlen's Gong, and many more. Lockwood was 62. » Read more

10 Years of Fruits de Mer - The Incomplete Angler – Those of you who are faithful followers of Exposé will know that we have been promoting Fruits de Mer and its side labels and releases from nearly its first year. Now music journalist and author Dave Thompson has written a book chronicling the past ten years as a celebration of this milestone. » Read more

Tom Rapp RIP – Singer / songwriter Tom Rapp, best known with the band Pearls Before Swine, passed away on February 12, at the age of 70, after a battle with cancer. » Read more

Previously in Exposé...

Trans-Siberian Orchestra - The Lost Christmas Eve – It’s hard to imagine that the core members of metal band Savatage would take a musical U-turn and arrive with a huge money-making project that has nothing to do with their previous incarnation. The...  (2005) » Read more

Satoru Wono - Sonata for Sine Wave and White Noise – Click. Shhhhhsshh. Bleep. The first minute of “Overture” sounds something like a couple of malfunctioning cell phones making random sounds. Then the beeps and hiss begin to take shape and find...  (2004) » Read more

Peter Frohmader - Cycle of Eternity – And that's how long this album seems to last. Actually, I really like most of Frohmader's earlier works like Jules Verne Cycle or Homunculus Volume 2 (to name only a couple) which were highly...  (1994) » Read more

4/3 de Trio - Faiblesse – With the new King Crimson album, Construkction of Light, entering the New Millennium with an atomic bang, pretty much blowing King Crimson wannabes out of the water and retaking the Land of Intense...  (2000) » Read more

Ars Nova - The Goddess of Darkness – It was about the time of ProgFest '94 when Arsnova's second album Transi made a big splash. Not just because this keyboard-heavy power trio was comprised of Japanese females, but because it...  (1997) » Read more

Listen & discover

Print issues