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

2020-06-14
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more

2020-05-14
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santan, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more

2020-05-06
Florian Schneider RIP – Florian Schneider, one of the founders of the pioneering electronic group Kraftwerk, has died at the age of 73. Co-founder Ralf Hütter announced that his bandmate had passed away from cancer after a brief illness. » Read more

2020-04-23
Shindig Festival Goes Lock-Down – Here's what they're saying: It's A Happening Thing! The Shindig! Magazine Lockdown Festival. In our days of no large gatherings of people, maybe it's still possible to have a music festival. Shindig! Magazine is giving it a go with a multi-artist streaming extravaganza on Saturday April 25. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Ancient Curse - The Landing – The strains of an acoustic guitar, a soft vocal, then comes the barrage. If I were to contain this review to only word, it would be: Metallica. Ancient Curse do not appear to make any claims at...  (1998) » Read more

Zamla Mammaz Manna - För äldre nybegynnare / Schlagerns mystik / Familjesprickor – For my money, SZamla incarnation number two was their prime and despite the fact we have to pay Japanese prices for Swedish CDs (all done by Silence) these are extremely well worth the wait. Zamla is...  (1994) » Read more

Danielson - Ships – An erstwhile aberrant choir of miscreants, stumbling over themselves to get their operatic avant-garde leaning message out, might seem daunting at first. Sure, initially there will be a short sharp...  (2007) » Read more

Il Sistema - Il Viaggio senza Andata – Ciro Perrino has been Mauro Moroni's right hand man at Mellow Records, so it's not surprising that many of the lost relics released by that label include him and other members of the short...  (1996) » Read more

Hands - The Early Years 1974-76 – Further tapping the bottom of the barrel of archives by Texas group Hands is this collection of live recordings and rehearsals by two prior incarnations of the band, named Prism and Ibis. The first...  (2001) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues