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The gondola shipping forecast

Venice's shipping forecastWhile in Italy over Christmas we took the opportunity to head back to Venice for another trip around the miraculous city, and captured one of its distinctive sounds.

Moored just off Piazza San Marco by the Palazzo Ducale are dozens of gondolas – on a cold December afternoon, business is slow and most of the gondolas remain tethered to the mooring bays.

With the constant boat traffic humming past, the gondolas slosh up and down, making a distinctive keynote sound of the city.

To reimagine this, we took one nautical tradition from Italy (and a relaxing sound in its own right) and blended in another, the sound of Radio 4’s late-night shipping forecast, a British institution broadcast since 1911.

Blending in five instances of the shipping forecast, each with various moving delay/reverb/reverse/stutter effects, the voice subtly moves around the outside of the gondola sounds, and I’ve brought in some low-level wave sounds from elsewhere in Italy to pad out the stereo field and give more of a ‘shipping’ feel to the final piece.

City version:


Memory version: