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MIA - Cornonstipicum CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.21 | 116 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
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!!
Cesar Inca | 5/5 |


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