Today’s sound comes from the Veneto town of Bassano del Grappa, which sits at the foot of Monte Grappa and is the home of the eponymous Italian alcoholic drink, among other things.
Bassano has a special significance to me, as it’s been somewhere I’ve visited regularly while in Veneto, and it’s a really lovely town. This recording comes from its most famous feature, the Ponte degli Alpini: a wooden bridge designed by Palladio in the 1500s and one of the most famous bridges in the region. It’s been destroyed/badly damaged a couple of times in wartime, and if you look out of the window where we were drinking (see photo for our view of the bridge) you can actually see artillery bullet holes in the wall behind us.
As I feel quite close to the recording, I decided to pass it on to one of our contributors to remix to see what they made of it, and who better than Jase Warner? We’ve previously remixed several of his field recordings from Venice and Paris, so we gave him a chance to react to one of our recordings.
Jase writes: “Along with many other sound recordists from around the world, I have contributed several field recordings to the Cities & Memory sound map, including those from my trips to Paris and Avignon. This is however my first attempt at remixing a field recording from their vast database of sounds, of which Stuart very kindly gave me unlimited access to. The original field recording itself is taken from Bassano del Grappa, an Italian town that sits at the foot of the Venetian Prealps; the audio features the chatter and footsteps of passing strangers, the scrape of café chairs being moved and cyclists passing by, all of which is set to the backdrop of a gentle hum in the air. What I liked about this recording was the fact that it didn’t tell me an awful lot, it was essentially open for interpretation.
“When I started working on the remix I wanted to try and contribute to the field recording, as opposed to merely manipulating it for my own ends; I considered what might be added to the soundscape of (what I imagined to be) a small plaza/street on a sunny afternoon in a charming Italian town. Live bands often play in these kinds of public spaces and so, for the remix, I laid down tracks for double bass, classical guitar, piano and accordion – instruments that seemed apt for the imagined environment. I also tapped the buttonboard of my accordion and then added echo to create the sound of a flock of birds, as well as adding a rhythmic bass hit to compliment the noise of passing strangers. By using segments of the original recording and altering frequencies, looping parts, adding and reducing depth and channeling tracks I was able to merge the documented sounds with those that I had projected by means of interpretation.”