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MIA - Cornonstipicum CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.20 | 116 ratings

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Prog Folk Researcher
5 stars Now this is what symphonic prog music is supposed to sound like! M.I.A. are an Argentinean band, with this record coming out of the period where bands like Espíritu, Invisible, and Crucis were heading a very brief but exciting run of progressive albums. You can hear a little bit of the same types of music those bands played in this album, but make no mistake – this is a unique offering that stands well in its own category.

There’s a little of the light jazzy sound like Crucis and Espíritu played in tracks like “Crifana y Tamilstenes” and “Joe Pirata” and some tasty acoustic guitar throughout but especially on “Melusina” and the ‘bonus’ tracks that came from later on in the band’s history and were added on the CD reissue. There are a few heavier, blues-influenced passages (mostly on the title track) that could be compared to Invisible. But mostly there are plenty of complex symphonic structures, most notably on the opening work and the epic title track, but present throughout.

There could probably be valid comparisons made for some passages to bands like Gentle Giant, Focus, even Genesis around the same period. But it’s pretty clear to me that these guys weren’t out to either emulate or pay tribute to the European prog bands of the day. They were making their own sound, one that combines some folk, some classical arrangements, a little silliness that could be mistaken for Canterbury, and even just a touch of blues-rock.

This is a very mellow album for the most part, something that sets them just a bit apart from most of their South American contemporaries who favored at least a fair helping of that energy that pervades most music from this hemisphere, whether progressive or not.

The title track is the showcase for the entire album, a lengthy, almost orchestral arrangement that includes some chamber-like backing vocals but is otherwise an instrumental that is full of transitions from chamber to rock to classical to jazz to folk, all of them seamlessly melded together into a seventeen-minute adventure of sounds. Great stuff!

If I had to pick another standout track it would be “Melusina” with its moody and almost sensual acoustic guitar, some light piano, and overall just the right tempo for a lazy warm summer afternoon outdoors. This is a very reflective number that can really get you inside your own head for a few minutes to ponder the meaning of life, or maybe just what to cook for dinner. Deep but casual at the same time.

I don’t have anything else from these guys so I can’t offer a comparison to any of their other albums, but if any of them are like this one then I need to put these guys on my wish list. This is an outstanding symphonic and classical folk offering from a band that faded into obscurity far too soon as far as I’m concerned. I should probably give this four stars since it isn’t recognized as an essential classic by too many people as far as I know, but since I really can’t think of one negative thing to say about it, and since I’ve been playing it almost non-stop for a couple weeks now, I’m going to go with five and recommend it highly to anyone who loves symphonic prog, South American music in general, or just wants to hear something excellent that they probably didn’t know about before. Maybe I’ll revisit the rating when I come down from the euphoria of discovering this one. Then again, maybe not.


ClemofNazareth | 5/5 |


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