Born in the “halcyon days” of dance music in the early ’90s, Halcyon still stands the test of time as an iconic track.
Originally recorded by Orbital in 1992, Halcyon takes its name from the brand of traquilisers used by the Hartnoll brothers mother.
It’s a Fine Day
Halcyon was built upon several samples from hit songs, the most prominent and underpinning the whole track are Kirsty Hawkshaw’s vocals from Opus III’s “It’s a Fine Day”, but in reverse. She portrays the Hartnolls mother in the original video for Halcyon.
“It all started just messing around on a Sunday evening, I just sat down to try and make a pop record. Not for release or anything like that, just messing around. I sampled the Opus III bit. We know Kirstie anyway, she’s a friend of ours. I just thought that would be quite funny – I was just amusing myself really.
And then, by the end of the evening, first using the sample and then taking out all the silly bits that I’d put in to make a pop record, I actually quite liked it and recorded it then and there.
I sort of left it alone for a few months and I still liked it, so I thought, well there’s got to be something in it somewhere.”
Here’s the Opus III original track from which the sample was taken (An excellent band, though short lived) :
I used to wonder how Orbital got a hold of the original vocal stems. I’ve since discovered that they used an acapella track on the B side of the original 1992 Fine Day release :
In the breakdown there’s also a sample of “Leave It” by Yes (The ahh-ahh sample) :
This is also an acapella bonus track:
The bass is a Yamaha FM synth preset Solid bass, probably on a DX100
Acoustic Guitar sample
909 and other samples
Halcyon On & On
Behind the scenes cutting the record and filming the video: