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MIA - Cornonstipicum CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.21 | 116 ratings

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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.
tszirmay | 3/5 |


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