Thursday, July 8, 2010

orbital: "halcyon"

"This song makes me just think of all bad things and blows them away in a split second. So peaceful."

"This song sends shivers down my spine every time I hear it. Such a powerfully moving tune!"

Earlier this week I posted The Orbital song "The Girl With The Sun in Her Head" - a ten minute long player of epic beauty. If ever there was an Orbital track to rival "Girl" it would probably be their classic dancefloor stormer "Halcyon". Orbital have been known to make some of the most widescreen techno symphonies ever recorded, so it's fitting to see the merging of visuals from the equally panoramic Kubric classic 2001 Space Odyssey. It almost seems as if the music and the visuals were made for each other, and I find this fan-made You Tube clip far more fitting than the original, official video. The fan quotes above sum up how I feel as well about "Halcyon" - a song whose title refers to a fabled bird, identified with the kingfisher, who was supposed to have had the power to calm the wind and the waves while it nested on the sea during the Winter solstice. Ironically, "Halcyon" was also made in dedication to the Hartnolls' mother, who was addicted to the tranquiliser Halcion (Triazolam) for many years. Throughout the song you'll also hear the sampled vocals of Opus III singer Kirsty Hawkshaw, from their excellent song, "It's A Fine Day" (one I'll also probably feature here at the blog soon this Summer).

I was lucky to witness Orbital live a couple of times, including one performance in a big old warehouse in Pittsburgh years ago. I met the younger brother Phil following their show that night, who, despite the staggeringly hot temperatures, was kind enough to stop and chat with me briefly. When they came to DC several years later, it was a truly uplifting musical performance, especially since their show there was not even a month after the September 11 tragedy struck. That night was a testimony to the spirit and character of the Hartnoll brothers and their music, whose brilliant sound was able to penetrate even some of the darkest of times.