-Introduzione a cura di Matteo Antonelli-
Coatl M. Evil is the phantom behind the Dungeon Synth project Machina Coeli: is him a mystic or just a nerd? Surely it’s a weird figure. Still, Machina Coeli is one of the most ancient Dungeon Synth projects, consisting his carrier in more than 20 years of activity, thing that does of Machina Coeli a legend in the Dungeon Synth community. Let’s go deep in the mystical musical creation of this brillant composer
Ciao Coatl, welcome to Art Over Covers! Tell us about your one mand band band Machina Coeli!
Hi, thank you for this opportunity. The idea was born back in 1996 while listening to the music of Mortiis, Wongraven, Die Verbannten Kinder Evas, Arcana, Weltenbrand and Pazuzu. That same year I got a Korg X3 keyboard which I still use to record Machina Coeli’s music. In 1997 I composed the songs for the Finitor Visus Nostri minicd, recorded them the following year and eventually released it in 1999. The 20th anniversary tape version will soon be released by canadian Gravecult Records which already re-released a few Mortiis’ albums on tape. Actually the initial idea was inspired by a Mortiis’ interview on a 1996 GrindZone issue: there he stated that anyone could be able to create his own kingdom through art.
How much important is the look for your project?
Very important: I started loving Heavy Metal music because of the album covers. Artwork is a huge part of the whole piece, since it is able to visually transmit something music can’t, at least not with the same strenght. And viceversa, of course.
On the Nigra Opera site, below your last work “Lure Of The Forgotten Lake” there is the following sentence: “The howl was hooting, as the flowing river def the hunger of the forgotten lake. How could we lose the memory of the magical water mirror as we indulged ourselves in the senseless quest for pleasure and matter? It is now time to forge new shiny weapons and crush the devious reign of ignorance which bid the purest Knowledge with its malicious shadows. There’s only one thing that can save us now: the ancient secret scrolls locked in the chest at the bottom of the lake…” What exactly is this anecdote?
Nothing specific or real, just an ispiration born from the idea of living an era in which any kind of wisdom and knowledge are lost, symbolically sunk in the dephts of a forgotten water mirror. Thus you must work hard to recover them.
As it escapes from the light of day, the owl is a symbol of darkness, melancholy and solitude; a kind of anti-God animal be-cause it lives without the sun. Has that portrait on your cover this kind of representative purpose? It seems to be part of a medieval design …
Nightime birds fashinate me so much, the owl on the cover is actually a part of a medievil painting. I decided to use that image (and the hoot in the album) as a warning, in the way Bathory used the crow on Blood On Ice. A wise bird warning humans that their stupidity won’t last that long.
The cover shows a portion of Sebino Lake, better known as Iseo lake: is it your place of origin? What is the meaning of the two swords?
My grandfather Dante – which meant and means a lot to me – was born on Lake Sebino, thus a part of my roots plunge into those waters. It is a very dark, romantic and sometimes dangerous lake and it carries an island with a mountain (Monte Isola) in the middle. Swords represent an idealistic past made of honour even in a fight. Plus, I do practice martial arts with sticks, knives and blades.
Why did you choose to publish your latest work on musicassette? Do you think that it is a support that is being re-evaluated today as today? Not very easy to use; for those who lived like me in the 90’s it was very difficult to find the tracks and you’re not even sure that everyone now has the device to read it. Obviously it is not to discourage your intent, but it is a truly original choice!
We are witnessing a somehow inexplicable reinassance of tapes. I have your same memories, actually! Yet I think younger people could love this format for its vintage aesthetics. Anyway, when we do sell a tape we give the buyer high quality digital files as well.
Is the art director of your latest cover the same one who edited “Gnosis”? Which kind of work was followed for your previous version in an aesthetic sense?
I worked with Matteo from Masked Dead Records / Nigra Opera Productions either for Gnosis and Lure Of The Forgotten Lake. The parchment symbolizes the past gone by and the labirynth is a strong gnostic symbol that has to do with the self identification process (C.G. Jung docet). Abraxas and Chnoubis are some kind of “deities” which inhabit the gnostic cosmos. I liked the interpretation of those figures you gave in your review of Gnosis.
What’s the meaning of Your moniker?
Back in 1996-97 I was studying medieval music at the University Of Bologna. Machina Coeli means “the sky’s mechanism” and it’s part of Severino Boezio’s musical theory (V century, a.D.). It’s something related to the supposed sound the planets release during their motion.
Have you ever bought a CD just because of its artwork?
“Heavy Demons” by Death SS. It perfectly fit my 14 years old mind’s horror imagery.
Which is your favorite color? Why?
Brown because it reminds me of chestnuts, a kind fruit I definitely worship.
Which are your favorite album artworks?
The ones which allow a great mind trip. Talking about Metal covers, I’ve always been in love with Dan Seagrave’s ones. Recently I conducted an interview with this incredible artist, you will soon be able to hear it on my radio show – Heavy Demons on Radio Onda D’Urto FM. Stay tuned!
Your favorite visual artists/photographers.
I’m not that fond of art or photography, even though I can be easily captured by them. Recently I attended a multimedia exhibit dedicated to Hieronymus Bosch: I love his overwhelming fantasy world! As for the 20th century, I love Fortunato Depero’s work and Andy Warhol’s art and philosophy. I would also like to remember late Gian Butturini, a great photographer I’ve had the pleasure to be friend and work with. He did many amazing photo feature works.
Freedom of expression, tell us something you want to say!
Do not make proselytes, nor be them.