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

2019-01-31
Keyboardist Ingo Bischof R.I.P. – Keyboard player Ingo Bischof, best known as the longtime keyboard player of German band Kraan, passed away on January 29th, 2019. Bischof was born January 2, 1951 in Berlin-Kreuzberg and joined Kraan in 1975. » Read more

2019-01-11
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more

2019-01-02
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more

2018-12-23
Seaprog Festival Seeks Donations – Seaprog is a small festival in Seattle that highlights creative music from many genres with artists from around the world. It's also a US non-profit organization. They're seeking donations to help keep the ball rolling. Starting in 2013, the organization has been growing, and has featured such artists as Free Salamander Exhibit, Jack o' the Clock, Nik Turner, Cabezas de Cera, Miriodor, Thinking Plague, and many more. » Read more

2018-11-16
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

The Yellow Balloon - The Yellow Balloon – The Yellow Balloon is basically the story of one producer & songwriter Gary Zekley who, disappointed with the results after having Jan and Dean record one of his songs, decided to record it again...  (2005) » Read more

Adrian Belew and Man on Fire - Habitat – Vocalist, composer and keyboardist Jeff Hodges is the main man behind the trio Man on Fire. Subject matter for the twelve tracks focuses on the concerns of the occupants of one city block and how they...  (2006) » Read more

The Thicket - The Thicket – The Thicket is the Edmonton-based duo of Andrei Poukhovski and Ivan Poukhovski-Sheremetyev, a father-son combination. The instrumentation consists only of keyboards and Theremin, with programmed...  (2003) » Read more

Redjy Emond - Sphere – This is one of those albums that contains a one man rock band mostly controlled by synthesizers. I'm not too fond of the robotic tendencies of this way of going at it, yet Redjy is a more tasteful...  (1997) » Read more

John Flomer's Primal Cinema - Mysterious Motions of Memory – Mysterious Motions is synthesist / composer Flomer's debut for Spotted Peccary. As 'Primal Cinema' and the title might suggest, the music here has a strong cinematic character, full of...  (1997) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues