Haruspis’ relaxing Halo playlist

Perhaps my favourite thing about Halo, other than the story, is the music. Across the last 14 years, this is just one department that has never ever let up in its quality. So I thought I’d compile a list of my top 20 Halo tracks which I listen to for the purpose of relaxation.

Ambient Wonder (HALO CE)

This plays aboard the Truth and Reconciliation at the gravity lift and really sets a beautifully ambient tone with its high notes and 80s-inspired synth.

Under Cover of Night (HALO CE)

Many will remember this from The Truth and Reconciliation’s opening stealth segment, but to me it’s grounded in my memory from the ‘Final Run’ section of Two Betrayals where you have to get to the Banshee in order to deactivate the final pulse generator. On your way, you’re caught in the middle of Covenant troops giving it their all against hordes of Flood. It’s one of Halo’s most unforgettable encounters.

Yawning Chasm (HALO CEA)

The camera pans up past a barren mountain and over a clifftop to gaze up at the crashed hulk of the Pillar of Autumn while a single, solitary Banshee is crashing right towards it because the Master Chief is a huge nerd and loves showing off.Yeah, this is the track which punctuates that.

Beyond Hope (HALO 2)

Our first of several unreleased tracks. This plays during the bit after reuniting with Miranda and Johnson where you’re fighting the Sangheili Rangers out on the station’s hull. The choir is ridiculously soothing to listen to.

Dust and Bones (HALO 2)

This one plays after John kills the Prophet of Regret and is forced to flee the temple as a Covenant ship’s energy projector begins to glass the area, and is dragged to an uncertain fate by the Gravemind.

Heavy Price Paid (HALO 2)

You’ve heard this many times in Halo 2′s main menu suite, but also at the start of Uprising where Thel learns that the Jiralhanae have murdered all of the Sangheili in the area. Like so many tracks in Halo 2, it conveys a haunting and mournful sense of sadness. Says rather a lot that I find this sort of thing relaxing…

High Charity (HALO 2)

You’d think that being caught in the middle of the eruption of the Great Schism would call for great bombastic tracks as you shoot, punch, slice, and explode your way through High Charity. Nope, you’re going to watch many small Grunts get slaughtered by Jiralhanae in pretty gardens and you’re going to feel relaxed doing it!

In Amber Clad (HALO 2)

I have actually come to associate this track more with the late Monty Oum, as he used this in the opening of the video that made his name as an animator on the internet about 8 years ago - Haloid. Rest in peace, Monty <3

Punishment (HALO 2A)

This is the Anniversary ‘remake’ of Heavy Prince Paid. It’s a track well worth listening to twice.

Halo Reborn (HALO 3)

A personal favourite of mine, the choir that makes up the first two minutes is so damn beautiful. That image of the Pelican flying towards Installation 04B as Thel affirms to Rtas that he will see this fight to its end is really quite powerful, and the track leads into gameplay as you make your way over to the control room.

Action Figure Hands (HALO WARS)

I love Halo Wars. I love Halo Wars’ story, I love its multiplayer, and I love its music. I find the music so relaxing that I actually feel sleepy at times when I’m waiting for my next batch of Hawks to finish construction and this track is playing. If you listen closely, you can hear the faint drumbeat in the background playing In Amber Clad.

ODST Concept Track #3 (ODST)

This track was not actually in the game which makes no sense to me because this fits so well with the ambience of Mombasa Streets. I don’t actually know if it was made by Marty and Michael, but I’ve been listening to this for 6 years now it’s as consolidated a Halo track as any other to me.

Bits and Pieces (ODST)

ODST’s music is just… some of the best you’ll ever hear. Wandering through the streets of New Mombasa by yourself while evading Covenant patrols, searching for audio logs and clues, just soaking in the very noir atmosphere, is an experience that I don;t think anybody ever expected Halo would or could do. But it did, and it was the best thing ever, and the music is like 90% of the reason for that. It just sells it.

Neon Night (ODST)

What genre of music even is this? I don’t know if ‘god-tier’ is its own genre, but if it was this track would probably be in it…

Rain (ODST)

…and so would this one. You’ll want to hug the next piano you see after this.

New Alexandria (REACH)

New Alexandria stands out as a shining beacon of everything I had hoped Reach would be like. The level was absolutely fantastic, a much-needed break from form where you could essentially do whatever you wanted and had a wider variety of objectives. There’s a really ODST-esque vibe about this, which is fitting since Buck is in this mission.

Legacy (HALO 4)

You’ve heard me say it a million billion squillion times, but this is my favourite Halo track. Ever. Of all time. I have nothing new to say about this track other than what I’ve been saying for almost 3 years now. I can’t believe that human beings made this.

Haven (HALO 4)

I actually remember not being too sure whether I liked this track when I first heard it, and if I had a time machine I’d go back and slap my past self for that because it is simply stunning. Also, the second half of the track plays during one of the most horrific and tragic moments in the Halo franchise, so you get to feel sad and relaxed at the same time.

Wreckage (HALO 4)

I actually have a habit of hanging around the opening area of Requiem just to hear this in its entirety, just taking in the scenery with the remains of the Dawn, the mortally wounded Covenant feebly crawling towards their weapons, the ‘god rays’ poking through the cloud cover and piercing through the smoke. It really set the tone for the game, and is followed up by…

Requiem (HALO 4)

…this! You emerge out of the caves and stumble upon one of the most unforgettable vistas in Halo’s history. Great floating spires shifting over a circular cityscape-hanging over a mountain complete with a waterfall. Again, this just sells the atmosphere of the game, that feeling of exploration and open alien environments. It brings Requiem to life.

Epilogue (HALO 4)

I kind of cheated because this makes 21 tracks, but I just had to include it. This plays at the end of the campaign where John is floating in space after his farewell with Cortana , and then transitions into a very ODST-inspired piece which was not in the game outside of the Halo 4 beta menu.

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Today, Halo is one of the largest transmedia franchises ever to exist. It has numerous novels, comics, films (live action and animated), Terminals, and other pieces of media which substantially add to the lore.

Here is a comprehensive list of free resources of Halo media, this is largely something for people who may not have the Halo universe quite as readily available to them, but for those looking to refresh themselves with both old and new content then this is just as much for you. Feel free to add on anything I may have missed.

Forerunner Saga

Cryptum | [read] [audiobook]
Primordium | [read] [audiobook]
Silentium | [read] [audiobook]
Rebirth | [read] [audio]
The Trial of Mendicant Bias | [read] [audio]

Kilo-5 Trilogy

Glasslands | [read] [audio]
The Thursday War | [read] [audio]
Mortal Dictata | [currently unavailable]

Nylund Trilogy

The Fall of Reach | [read] [audio]
First Strike | [read] [audio]
Ghosts of Onyx | [read] [audio]

Standalone Novels

The Flood | [read] [audio]
Evolutions | [read] [audio - PART 1, PART 2] [Soma the Painter] [Wages of Sin - coming soon]
Contact Harvest | [read] [audio]
The Cole Protocol | [read] [audio]
Broken Circle | [currently unavailable]
New Blood | [currently unavailable]
Hunters in the Dark | [currently unavailable]

Comics

Escalation | [read]
Initiation | [read]
Uprising | [read]
Graphic Novel | [read]
Helljumper | [read]
Blood Line | [ISSUE 1] [ISSUE 2] [ISSUE 3] [ISSUE 4] [ISSUE 5]
The Cradle of Life | [PART 1] [PART 2] [PART 3] [PART 4]

Films

Forward Unto Dawn
Nightfall
Legends
The Mona Lisa
The Return
Headhunters
Midnight in the Heart of Midlothian

Terminals

Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary | [watch] [transcripts]
Halo 2 Anniversary | [watch] [transcripts]
Halo 3 | [transcripts]
Halo 4 | [watch] [transcripts]
Sadie’s Story | [watch] [transcripts]
Reach Data Pads | [transcripts]

Promotional material

Hunt the Truth
i love bees
Scanned
Starry Night
Landfall
Believe
We Are ODST
Birth of a Spartan
Remember Reach