Home > Ambient, Electronica, Top 5 records > Top 5 records with #2 : Orbital : Halcyon

Top 5 records with #2 : Orbital : Halcyon


I first heard this quite late on in the summer of 1995 in raves. It was also featured the following year in the movie Hacker which helded an incredible soundtrack.. An unknown DJ in Quebec city played it on the terrace at 5am at the rave Caffeine near les batures de Beauport on the beaches. It is one of the most perfect songs you could ever hear. I wrongly assumed it was new at the time, I frantically wrote the name down as ‘+ on + on + on’ but the DJ said it was on an album & he said he didnt know the artist. Also the Opus 3 vocal sample is played in reverse on this track, another example of Orbital’s genius at vocal samples. I even tried playing the original Opus 3 backwards (to test this theory) and sure enough i got the exact same vocal as Halcyon. I was absolutely mesmerized by the shimmering synth wave of this song. It is one of the best example of ambient techno at its finest, and it was made almost 20 years ago in 1992 !

This track has also been in a lot of films – Mortal Kombat, Hackers, and Shopping just to name a few, probably due to the beautiful ambient-like opening, the 12″ vinyl is a very rare find, there was 1 copy for sale at $60 US, which sounds about right for such a rare & desirable piece. No one should have to be reminded of what a fantastic song this is. Instantly catchy, ethereal and hypnotic in its ebbs and flows. Later remixed and re-released on their “Orbital 2” album as “Halcyon + On + On”, this song does the job and no mistake. The infamous vocal sample, by the way, is from Kirsty Hawkshaw‘s voice on Opus III’s “It’s A Fine Day” (later re-released as a pop-trance tune under the name Miss Jane). On Orbital’s second eponymous album the track “Halcyon + on + on” appears, a slightly more upbeat and melodic remix of the original song.

The title of the remix is inspired by a contemporary advertising slogan used by the Ariston washing machine company (“Ariston + on + on”). “Halcyon + on + on” also refers to the Hartnolls’ mother, who was addicted to the tranquiliser Halcion (Triazolam) for many years. In live PA, Halcyon was frequently remixed with clips from Belinda Carlisle ‘s song Heaven is a place on earth and Bon Jovi, with their track You give love a bad name. Needless to say, they don’t make  them like this anymore…

Orbital : Halcyon + On + On [1992 : Internal records, from the brown album]

  1. Hardenbrook
    May 3, 2010 at 6:36 am

    One of the most beautiful songs ever made for the human race.

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