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5 stars Another excellent example about authentic symphonic rock coming from Argentina. The MIA's third and last studio abum is a real gift to the ears. Instrumental music (except brief choral parts) with many references from classical music and great progressive bands like CAMEL, YES and Italian groups like PFM. Beautiful and delicate flutes, guitars and keyboards and some jazzy touches, taking care of melodies and harmonies at all time. The first three tracks are magnificent prog themes (I specially love "La Coronación del Farre"), but after two nice short cuts the long suite "Cornostipicum" begins, and... upsss, it's incredible! It has all the necessary elements to conform a masterpiece: complex arrangements, experimentation (it seems a little bit chaotic for brief seconds, but it's always cohesive), classic progressions and softly beautiful moments, all perfectly floating. Exceptional and highly recommended stuff, at the same level that "Transparencias", the first (and wonderful too) MIA's album. Originally, "Cornostipicum" ended with the homonymous suite; in the cd edition there are several guitar solo bonus tracks.
Report this review (#18706)
Posted Friday, March 12, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Italian progressive inspired music. Mostly instrumental with a fantastic acustic texture and the unique Mellotron sound in the background, excellent interplay of instruments...All the major players of that time come to mind: Genesis/Camel/Gentle Giant and of course PFM; with some guitar works that to my ears bring Mike Oldfield also as an influence...for me a great and awesome Hispanic progressive music discovery.....A MUST.
Report this review (#18707)
Posted Sunday, April 11, 2004 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
3 stars Please note that the original album held only six tracks (the first six of course you wise-arse) and the rest are bonus material from some acoustic guitar concert in 78 from one of their guitarist. Although good in themselves, they have nothing to do with the original album.

MIA's third album is the better rated among the connaisseur prog club and usually draws excellent criticsm. IMHO, this is a very correct album in the typical 70's Argentinian mode , sounding somewhat very close to the Italian way of doing Prog (again this is a question of cultural heritage as Argentina is a very Italian spanish-speaking country). Their music is sometimes very close to classical but has also a distinct flavour (Zaniness?!?!) rather hard to define that sometimes makes you think of Canterbury music (I had thoughts about Hatfiield"s Northettes singing , but I must really be mad....) but only on some of those numbers. The third track and the sidelong title track suite are the highlight in here. I would be tempted to give it another star but something is holding me back so 3.5 stars will do.

Report this review (#18709)
Posted Friday, October 15, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Be sure: this is the best MIA`s album. Specially for the "Cornonstipicum" track, an excellent long song with wonderfull instrumentation. Las comparaciones con el rock progresivo italiano son ociosas: MIA tiene una sonoridad casi única. "La coronación del Farre", "Crifana y Tamílstenes" and "Cornonstipicum" can be included into the best creation of south american progressive rock. Essential, like "Anabelas" (Bubu), "Los delirios del mariscal" (Crucis), "Durazno sangrando" (Invisible), "Crisálida" (Espíritu), "La Máquina de Hacer Pájaros" (idem), "El llanto secreto de la luna" (Zonda Projeckt), "La eminencia inobjetable" (Las Orejas y la Lengua) and "Artaud" (Pescado Rabioso), etc.
Report this review (#18710)
Posted Monday, January 31, 2005 | Review Permalink
Cesar Inca
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars M.I.A.'s third and last effort is also their ultimate masterpiece: "Cornonstipicum" is one of the best prog recordings ever in the history of Argentinean rock. The increase of the musical energy functions as a crucial factor for this album's impressive caliber, although it retains much of the bucolic flavour that had clearly appeared two albums; it's just that this album's repertoire goes to far more places. Meanwhile, Lito Vitale's role on keyboard becomes more prominent in the mix, and that means that the multicolored sonic sources that the band so majestically combines in their prog style are given an extra intensity thanks to the augmentation of the orchestral feel in many passages of "Cornonstipicum". The symphonic stuff sounds more grandiose than ever, the jazzy sections sound more exuberant than ever, and the weird stuff receives an air of magical flamboyance - this is a very powerful album, indeed, one of those gems from faraway countries that could make the day for sensible prog collectors. The opener 'La Coronación del Farre' is a superb track that stretches out from two fronts: one is the chord sequence elaborated on dual acoustic guitars and piano, while the other is the massive synth-and-drumkit orchestration that occasionally brings a pleasant shade of disturbance. There are also some brief recorder lines that help to enhance properly the track's bucolic aspect. This track may remind us of Celeste to a certain degree, but I mention this as a point of reference, not as an implication that there might be some sort of stylistic connection between M.I.A.'s music and the vintage prototype of Italian prog. Things get somewhat more relaxing with another acoustic guitar-based number, 'Imagen III': the presence of accordion adds a subtle touch of tango folklore to the sonic tapestry displayed in this beautiful piece. The band's jazzier side first emerges in full swing in the almost 8 minute-long 'Crifana y Tamilstenes', constructed around an attractive main motif. The lyrical colors of the melodic lines and their variations for the fast sections remind me of Canterbury-meets-GG, while the slow interlude of acoustic guitar, synth and chorale brings a mixture of eerie ambiences and Renaissance antiques, in this way creating a very fluid sense of contrast. This is one of my definite fave tracks of this album. The brief, delicious burlesque 'Las Persianas No' brings a delicate exercise on dissonance, in a sort of combination between Baroque operetta and old-fashioned cabaret. Ever wondered how weirdness and lyricism could mix with each other perfectly in a "shaken, not stirred" prog cocktail? Listen to this track and find out: it will only take 49 seconds of your precious time. It has happened to me (more than once) that I found myself listening to this track 4 or 5 times in a row just for the pleasure of it. 'Piedras de Color' is a Vitale-penned piano nocturne that mostly serves as a prologue to the monster namesake suite. 'Cornonstipicum' has got to be one of the brightest prog suites ever outside the Anglo-Saxon area. All throughout its 17:45 minute time span you will find a splendid procession of incredibly diverse musical ideas, cleverly articulated in a challenging continuum: even the most apparently chaotic sections deliver a display of ordaining intelligence. Everything about life and the world is here: intensity, calm, density, tranquility, folly, introspection, in a spectacular frame where jazz-rock and symphonic prog unite. There are some casual coincidences with ELP, Pink Floyd, Gentle Giant, Return to Forever, even the deconstructive spirit of RIO, but again, M.I.A. (as many other great Latin American prog acts) managed to create a prog trend of their own. As their ultimate expression, "Cornonstipicum" stands out as a prog masterpiece in its own terms - 5 stars!!
Report this review (#18711)
Posted Sunday, May 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Instrumental-symphonic rock with elaborate forays into contrapuntal movements such as "Crifana y Tamílstenes". Mia's music is a complex symphonic rock with definite latin folk influence with vocals of the *La La La* variety which beautifully contrast with the keyboards and a great guitar sound all heaped above a strong rhythmic section. They were highly influenced by symphonic prog, I hear mainly influences from Genesis, the acoustic bits on Tubular Bells come to mind and yes, ELP MIa were formed in the mid 70s, and the name stands for Independent Musicians Associated (MIA) which was a group of musicians and technicians. One of the best Argentinean albums IMO, I like the vibe of Mia, its kind of happy music...good to play on a sunny summers morning !
Report this review (#64870)
Posted Sunday, January 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
el böthy
5 stars A real masterpiece of symphonic prog!!!

As an argentinian Im always looking for interesting and good prog bands from my country, which is quite hard as this genre is totally under in Argentina, so when I saw Cornostipicum I knew I had to get it! The sound of the band was exacly as I thought it would be, but the quality...blew me away!!! For me this is a 5 star masterpiece of symphonic prog. It´s definitly my favorite argentinian album (of any genre!!!). The whole thing is instrumental, although there are some vocals, but this are used as instruments, there are no lyrics. "La coronación del farre" is a great opener, my favorite track of the album (along with Cornostipicum). It´s definitly one of my favorite instrumental pieces with great synths!!! "Imagen III" is an acoustic driven piece, very nice and calm with some excusit things here and there... "Crifana Y Tamilstenes" is the longest track so far and it shows some melodic vocals in charge of Liliana and Lito Vitale. This song ones again has excellent instrumentation and some great key parts! "Las persianas de color" is a short piano-vocals piece which reminds of Gentle Giant. Quite funny and...quite short! "Pedras" is piano solo piece which shows the talent of Lito Vitale (who was only 18 when they made this album!!!) "Cornistipicum", this song has everything mentioned in every song and more!!! Excelletn from start to finish. It starts with bombastic synths but quickly changes to a more bass-drums vibe, to change again (change is the name of this song). It even has some Hackett in Genesis like solos which are high and beautiful...the whole thing is really beautiful. The vocals in this epic are sometimes weird and some times very choral. A really impressive work! Then there are 5 live bonus tracks which are originally from their next album Conciertos. Im not a big fan of bonus tracks, but this ones are not bad at all...they dont ruin the Cd like some Jethro Tull bonus tracks sometimes do...4 of this tracks are acoustic guitar pieces which show the excellent techniks of guitarists Nono Belvis, Daniel Curto and Albert Muńos...really impressive work! And the last track is kind of charleston, tabern song...quite funny.

The whole album is superb, no flobs, no mistakes. Really nice, really symphonic, really calm and really a masterpiece!

Report this review (#77981)
Posted Friday, May 12, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album is a sort of mix of symphonic prog and canterbury. Mostly instrumental, you'll hear a load of "la, la, la's" that remind me of the Northettes from Hatfield and the North, hence the canterbury comparison. What makes it such a wonderful album is the sheer originality. Not really sounding a whole lot like anybody, there are snippets of Gentle Giant noodling during "Crifana Y Tamilstenes", but other then that it's really a cool album. My only gripe, tho, is some Godawful caterwauling by the "Mia-ettes" during the title track. I mean it's just plain bad! You have to hear it to catch my drift. Yet don't let that stop you from buying this album. It's wholly original, with some fantastic playing and multiple time signature changing throughout. The last five songs are acoustic guitar played live during some concert in the 70's I gather. Very nice and calming, compared to the album proper. Give these folks a try. A very solid 4.5!
Report this review (#81596)
Posted Tuesday, June 20, 2006 | Review Permalink
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.


Report this review (#126625)
Posted Saturday, June 23, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars If taken in its most literary sense, this album is probably the most progressive recording ever created! But there is something wrong here because it progresses from track to track, like the ever- morphing "Andromeda Strain"! Most progressive albums like to create an overall mood, as if a story with assorted ebb and flows that nevertheless maintain a stylistic line. On occasion, an album can introduce other styles but often very unsuccessfully (such as Bennie the Bouncer on ELP's Brain Salad Surgery). The Prog Court needs to decide whether this album is genius or something less so. I therefore have convened the Court under the auspices of his right honorable Chief Justice Floyd Tull (KC, GG, ELO) to listen to the pros and cons of MIA's "Cornonstipicum" and resolve the level of the review's attribution of timeless classicism. We begin auspiciously with moody symphonic atmospherics using all the usual culprits ( Major Organ, Cynthia Sizer, Pia Piano, Senor Mellotron and Felix the Flute), an absolute cracker piece of music, his honor exclaims loudly ! Expecting more of the same? No way, Jose as "Imagen III" has Banjo, Accordion, Celeste spicing up a gentle keyboard dominated tune with some spirited scat singing a la Northettes (giving this a now totally Canterbury feel), crowned off by a sibilant synth solo that's very nice. The third track drops the symphonic mood entirely, tossing it way into jazzier Hatfield territory with tons of lalala lalala, repeated by the synth line, augmented by choppy clavinet and a breezy mid-section that is as pastoral as the Argentine plains will ever get! On the brief "Las Persianas No" , the puzzled adjudicator is now seriously scratching his head, as the male voiced "lolololos" go nowhere, imperiling what little swaths of hair remain on the good judge's scalp. So what's next? A two minute bucolic piano solo that is a winner but is no more than an oddly placed interlude, evoking Rick Wakeman's grand style. The beads of sweat are slowly forming as our arbitrator releases a sigh of relief with the 17 minute title track, a definite stroke of genius, with lush ornamentations leaning heavily on a bevy of keyboards, whistling synths and cascading contrasts of mood with massive use of choral voices, scat-singing mimicking the guitar leads, bashing drums, insane percussives & such plain creative insanity. Finally, the judge smiles, obviously in familiar jurisprudence and completely and comfortably numb. "Finish off with some bonus tracks and rendering a decision will be a piece of chocolate cake", mumbles his highness! This album should have been titled "Conundrum" instead, as the added live pieces are impudent acts of progressive sabotage that deserve open air punishment! The next 4 songs are acoustic guitar duets that are truly wonderful but have absolutely nothing in common with the album's main title piece but obviously very much within this group's philosophy of throwing in everything including the kitchen sink and the mansion's entire plumbing! Good Judge Tull, is openly crying in total despair, shredding mercilessly his notes and flinging them into the rather large refuse container (courtesy of PA reviewers voluntary fund) but his agony turns to raging fury when submitted to the album's final insulting figure, the 5 minute "Los Gatos de Zully", a rollicking bar-room "pie-ahna" hoedown that could only please Keith Emerson's ego. There is a word for this, something sticky and smelly occasionally found on a hot street with plenty of dogs who have bowel problems and hard to remove from one's Gaucho boots ("Malos (instead of Buenos) Aires"). The verdict you dare ask, please stand: "one half genius and one half pure rubbish. Go and leave me to my chambers where I can crank up some vintage prog from my collection and soothe the pain away". For once I am in agreement with the decision , this is not my cup of mate . 3 sentences.
Report this review (#166483)
Posted Saturday, April 12, 2008 | Review Permalink
5 stars Another masterpiece of MIA. The original music, when it allied to the virtuosity of the musicians, they do an excellent album not to lose. The cd presents like bonus tracks, some musics that belong to the album Conciertos. without these bonus tracks, the cd would have a little time, and is very difficul is comercialization. For me, the original album don't need bónus tracks because they are excellent, but that is a excellent gift because I can't find in market Conciertos selling. Thank you MIA for another masterpiece. Highly recomended.
Report this review (#177226)
Posted Friday, July 18, 2008 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars MIA were a Symphonic band from Argentina and this particular record from them is usually pointed out as their best. It certainly is their most progressive album, in fact I would describe it as having abundant mood and tempo shifts throughout, they rarely stay in one place long. No lyrics although there are plenty of vocal melodies (wordless melodies) both male and female.

"La Coronacion Del Farre" builds to a dramatic sound before it settles with flute. Keys come in and then bass. It kicks in before 4 minutes. "Imagen III" is led by piano as female vocal melodies join in briefly. Sounds like accordion but it's brief too. Other sounds continue to come and go. "Crifana Y Tamilstenes" is uptempo with both male and female vocal melodies. Some nice bass too. It settles after 2 1/2 minutes as acoustic guitar and synths take over. It picks back up after 5 minutes with deep bass and keyboards. "Las Persianas No" features keys, drums and vocal melodies. "Piedras De Color" features piano melodies throughout.

"Cornonstipicum" is the excellent side long final track at 17 1/2 minutes. It has some nice drum work early then piano takes over. A lone vocal melody after 2 minutes before it kicks back in with some dissonance. Nice. Guitar 4 minutes followed by organ as the tempo picks up. Good section. It settles 7 1/2 minutes in with gentle guitar and flute. Piano and vocal melodies after 10 1/2 minutes as it continues to be laid back. That is until after 13 minutes when it kicks back in.

This is highly rated by most but I have to agree with sean trane and tszirmay in giving this 3.5 stars. It's impressive and very proggy but I just don't like it enough to offer up the fourth star.

Report this review (#210600)
Posted Monday, April 6, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars This one smell better than it tastes.

This album has got a very high rating so I purchased it. I also happens to like the South American scene a lot. But what I found was a rather dysfunctional album.

This album has it's base in some ELP like structures. Then it branches out in all direction. That includes jazz, eclectic, prog folk and most things under this sun. Yes, even Zeuhl gets a honorary membership on this album. I like thinking outside the box. That is in fact what the term "progressive rock" means. But I am not sure if everything on Cornonstipicum is as clever as the tin says it is. The smell is better than the taste.

I got the 59 minutes version and it seems like some bonus songs has been added. The last half of this album has pieces of music which simply does not work. For example the extensive use of acoustic guitars does not work at all and the album dies an undignified death during the final half. But the first half an hour is great. Great, but not superb. The title track is almost superb though. The rest of the album is a bit too dysfunctional for my liking. I cannot say this is an album I feel is as good as it's reputation. But it is still a good album which I am sure will bring joy to many homes during the next hundred years.

3 stars

Report this review (#269187)
Posted Monday, March 1, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars When one of my best friends introduced me to MIA, first of all I was totally impressed by the cover of the album, a complete piece of art, then we passed to the music and I was blown away by it. A total massive progression that is mainly symphonic prog, but I found a lot of elements related to the Canterbury Scene and also a lot of sections with folk acoustic elements. Definitely, an excellent album of progressive rock from Argentina, probing that MIA and especially this album, CORNONSTIPICUM is one of the best things you could ever listen to as a prog lover, thanks to my friend for introducing me to this band!
Report this review (#1042609)
Posted Monday, September 23, 2013 | Review Permalink
4 stars MIA can't be called as one of the best prog bands form Argentina, and it is because I think their albums aren't constant. Transparencias was a nice effort with high level compisitions but lacking some spirit and emotion. Magicos Juegos Del Tiempo is completely out of place, compositions and lyrics are poor. But for Cornonstipicum it would seem that MIA learned from everything; they took all the bad, threw it away and made the best parts better. It is another purely instrumental album like Transparencias, the instrumentation and compositions are a lot better, and yes, this I would rank as one of the best from Argentina, also a bit rare while LP pressing was very limited. Side 1 begins with La Coronaci'n del Farre (Farre's Crowning) and it is named after a doggy named Farre (whose picture even appears in the inner art along with the pictures of the other members and the chorus). It is a great intro for the album with changing moods between guitars, keys and a great flute-recorder tuple. Imagen III (Image III) is eventually from the Imagen series (Imagen II is in Transparencias and I'm not sure if they ever recorder Imagen I), it is a beautiful soft piece, with soft guitars, more keys and some accordion (played by Lito). Crifana Y Tam'lstenes is the highlight of side 1. The lalala vocals remind the Canterbury sound, and again the keys take the spotlight. Las Persianas No is short and silly (just look at the title, it means "Not The Blinds", you know, window blinds). Piedras de Color (Color Stones) is a short piano piece played entirely by Lito. And so the general highlight, the Cornonstipicum suite. Some new keys as well as the chorus are introduced. There is a mid soft part with again the flute-recorder duo. There is no time to rest here, constant changes are always present, great guitars, keys at all times and solo and chorus vocals make this an unforgettable piece. If you like Italian prog or great keys then this is a must for you. And if not, it will be a good addition for your collection.
Report this review (#1472275)
Posted Saturday, October 3, 2015 | Review Permalink
4 stars MIA were a group of young prog fans from Argentina who were lucky enough to have their parents lend a hand with studio space - key members Lito and Liliana Vitale were still teenagers when they put out this third album. It's a real lost gem of the often-overlooked South American prog mini-boom of the late 1970s, with the epic title track taking in a range of styles from Genesis-esque pastoral prog to ELP-esque synthesiser madness to Zappa-esque avant-garde vocal harmony experiments, and somehow makes these diverse ingredients work together as a whole. Fans of 1970s prog should take special note of this one, because it's been overlooked for rather too long.
Report this review (#1642129)
Posted Sunday, November 13, 2016 | Review Permalink

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