Playlist: Christopher Walton

Christopher Walton is one-half of the defunct duo, Endvra, and is currently producing solo recordings as Tenhornedbeast. As Tenhornedbeast, he has released a number of albums with the likes of NOTHingness REcords, Aurora Borealis and Cold Spring. His new record, Ten Horned Moses Descended The Mountain, spans three discs and has a runtime of over three hours. It is currently up for pre-order and will be available in limited quantities on July 19th from Handmade Birds. For more information, please visit

Songs, parts of songs and evocations of atmosphere that are currently influencing a new direction for TenHornedBeast

I have felt for some time that the vast billowing soundscapes that TenHornedBeast has become known for could be adapted and developed to include quieter and more intimate pieces. The three interludes on “Hunts & Wars” went some way to realise this but I would like to take the idea a lot further. These tracks are showing me the way.

1. Danzig, Come To Silver
2. Nico, Janitor of Lunacy
3. Wishbone Ash, Throw Down The Sword
4. Shelagh McDonald, Dowie Dens of Yarrow
5. Mr. Fox, Mendle
6. Scorpions, Evening Wind
7. Donovan, The Dream of Wandering Aengus
8. UFO, Abory Hill
9. Dr. John, ZouZou Mamou
10. Pentangle, High Germany

Works of art that have recently been obsessed over

1. Denis Kostromitin, Moloch

I’ve known Denis for some years and he was recently kind enough to show me a piece of his titled Moloch, which was commissioned by a private collector. It was at once both horrific and beautiful, exquisitely executed and so powerful it has haunted me ever since. Denis is the only artist I know of today who is fit to be spoken of in the same company as Spare, Rops or Delville.

2. John Everett Millais, St. Michael's Summer

I am not an aficionado of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood but I do enjoy the wilderness and emptiness of Millais’ landscapes. This painting captures the what I look for in my trips to wild places. Machen referred to this obliquely as the “Tole Deol” and I feel it is as much a manifestation of inner space as it is of landscape.

3. Frank Frazetta, Sun Goddess

Frazetta was so much more than a “fantasy” artist. I love the presence and drama of the figure in this painting, the hieratic pose, the shafts of light and the rock pedestal all reflecting and perverting Christian iconography. The smilodon as totem and the womanly curves of the Goddess just add to the beauty.

4. Nikolai Roerich, The Sword of Valour

I am an admirer of all Roerich’s work but his early religious and mythological paintings appeal to me the most. The Sword of Valour was painted in 1912 and is quite naive in its palette and composition but I enjoy the stark contrast of the crimson Angel against the green of the hill, the violent purpose juxtaposed with the sleeping guards.

5. Unknown, Winterhilfe cards, 1936

I have a large collection of postcards and printed material from Europe circa 1914-1950, both Nationalist, Axis and Soviet Bloc. My favourites are a set of 5 postcards published by the German Winterhilfe charity in 1936 depicting mythological and medieval themes such as rising eagles, longships, warriors holding aloft swords and mounted knights. Whoever illustrated these cards drew heavily on the romantic themes that came from Symbolism and Art Nuevo but adapted them to fit the political climate of the times but there is a graphic quality to the cards that transcends their use as propaganda tools.

Venom songs that are most likely to involuntarily leap into my head as a defence against tedium

1. Acid Queen
2. Warhead
3. Lady Lust
4. Die Hard
5. Poison

Recent non-fiction

1. The Snow Leopard, Peter Matthiessen

I picked this up at random in a climbing shop last year. Initially I found it had less to do with Snow Leopards than I would have liked and more to do with Matthiessen’s quest to understand Himalayan Buddhism but ultimately that is what won me over. I seldom read books like this twice but I will return to thisagain and again.

2. Green Tracks of the Mid Pennines, Arthur Raistrick

Raistrick was a true English eccentric. A conscientious objector in both World Wars, a socialist and a Quaker as well as an academic and lover of the hills of northern England. I found this small, obscure volume in the second hand section of the famous Daunts bookshop in London at the same time somebody was recording a piece for the BBC world service in their lower floor
map room.

3. The Art of Conversation with the Genius Loci, Barry Patterson

I do not read much occult literature these days, especially not stuff with a hint of the New Age about it but I trusted to my earlier (good) experience with Capal Bann and I’ve enjoyed it immensely.

4. 98.6 The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive, Cody Lundin

I was introduced to Cody Lundin’s books several years ago by an instructor on a tracking course. I’ve read this book time and again until I’ve absorbed all the information and now I read it for fun. Without a doubt the best book on wilderness survival and the skills needed to fend for oneself that I have ever read.

5. The Origins of the British: A Genetic Detective Story, Stephen Oppenheimer

I have had this on my bedside table for about 2 years. I dip in and out once in a while and read another chapter. I’m not sure I quite accept everything that Oppenheimer says but I find the ideas about Proto-English and the survival of pre-“Celtic” toponyms fascinating.

Recent fiction

1. The Picture of Dorian Grey, Oscar Wilde

I have just re-read this having stayed in the Langham Hotel in London, the place where Wilde met with the magazine publisher Joseph Marshall Stoddart and agreed to write have a novel for serialisation in Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine. Wilde’s constant attempts at smart-arsery and epigraphic quippery really annoy me but the Faustian themes of the novel and the brief descriptions of the underworlds of fin de siecle London make up for the florid style.

2. The Worms Of The Earth, Robert E Howard

Howard is so much more than just the author of Conan. Bran Mak Morn is an Iron Age Hamlet; dark and moody, obsessed with the metaphysical and the decline of his race. This is one of Howard’s finest short stories and one that I read for the simple pleasure it brings.

3. Mr Standfast, John Buchan

I am very interested in MI7, the Military Propaganda organisation that churned out anti-German copy for foreign and domestic consumption during the Great War, that John Buchan and Lord Dunsany worked in the service makes it all the more interesting. Mr Standfast is Buchan’s best Hannay novel and one that gets closest to the mood of the times. Another book I return to again and again.

4. The Year Of The Hare, Arto Paasilinna

I don’t read much contemporary literary fiction – a degree in literature and dislike for kitchen sink dramas has hardened me against it – but I did enjoy this novel, especially the epic final hunt and the black comedy with the raven.

5. Memoirs of a Gnostic Dwarf, David Madsen

Another re-read from a book first bought almost 15 years ago. I didn’t enjoy it as much as the first time.

Favourite Lord Dunsany stories

Dunsany is something of a muse and mentor to me. I read him all the time, from his early work to his later poetry and prose. I particularly enjoy his many prophesies of the end of civilisation and the destruction of London.

1. Thirteen at Table
2. Where the Tides Ebb and Flow
3. Poltarnees, Beholder of Ocean
4. The Hen
5. Taking Up Piccadilly

Favourite films

1. The Duellists

I’ve always preferred music and literature to film but I have watched The Duellists many, many times and I even think it superior to Conrad’s story. I can see a lot of Gabriel FĂ©raud in my own character, especially the intolerance and fanaticism.

2. The Fountain

This is another film I watch again and again. The modern world is obsessed with denying the reality of death and hiding away from it in a bubble of consumerism and triviality for as long as possible. This film shines a light on Death in the most beautiful and moving ways. I wonder what Ponce de Leon would think of Florida today.

3. Apocalypto

Despite, or maybe because of, Mel Gibson’s drunken misogynism, racism and anti-semitism I really enjoy this film. This is so much more than a shitty Hollywood action-film. The institutional cruelty and callousness of Zero Wolf and his war band is extremely evident and whilst we are obviously expected to empathise with Jaguar Paw and his hunter-gatherers I think the modern world is closer to the former than we would care to admit. As a flint knapper I also dig the obsidian weaponry!

4. Carry On Camping

My love of Carry On films is not ironic or knowing, I just love their vulgarity. Carry On Camping is the pick of the bunch, with Carry On Up The Khyber a close second.

5. Dog Soldiers/Who’ll Stop The Rain

I first saw this as a kid in the late 70s and later taped it to VHS from the TV. You might wonder why a 10 year old was allowed to watch a film about a Vietnam vet trying to hold together a bad drug deal, running away to the desert and finally dyingon a railroad.

Recent Music

1. Quicksand Dream, Aelin – A Story About Destiny

I picked this up at a gig for £5 knowing nothing about it. Turns out it’s a fucking NWOBHM-inspired fantasy opera with enough galloping bass lines and melodic epic riffs to make Steve Harris weep! If Iron Maiden had been Swedish and only had access to old Scorps records and Jeff Wayne’s “War Of The Worlds” this is what they’d have done. Stuff like this really weeds out the people who pretend to like heavy metal.

2. Danzig, Deth Red Saboath

I first saw Danzig in 1988 when they opened for Metallica on the UK Justice tour. Being a Danzig fan is a rocky road but this album is a real return to form and I’ve been playing it since its release in 2010. “Hammer Of The Gods” is definitely the best song ever written about Heinrich Himmler.

3. Machine Fabriek, Daas

When I listened to this I was dumbstruck by the quality of the sounds and the composition. So much drone/ambient is rubbish but this made me very, very jealous.

4. Atlantean Kodex, The Golden Bough

Epic Heavy Metal of the highest order. I’m very excited to see their first UK gig in August.

5. K100, The Vault Of Apparitions

Another dark-ambient release that really impressed me. Keeping dark music interesting without sacrificing the impact is hard but I’ve played K100 a lot recently and it’s getting better each time.


Krumbled Kookie said...

This is great. I'm especially happy to see someone else enjoying Cody Lundin's books.

Chris Walton said...

Oh yeah, I learnt a lot from Cody Lundin.

JohanAsTree said...

Machinefabriek is ace. Nice read this!