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Swifts at sunset in Ostuni, Italy

Ostuni, Italy: every evening at sunset in Puglia’s “Citta Bianca”, the skies fill with the cries of swifts emerging from their nests, dipping and diving in the air at bewildering speeds. It’s a high-pitched, shrill call, and one that whizzes past at incredible speed, creating some fascinatingly sharp shards of sounds in the alleyways between the rows of steep buildings.

We spent an evening recording the sound of the swifts in Ostuni, which you can also see a brief video clip of here.

For the reimagined version of the sound, we wanted to introduce some skittering rhythms that represent the rapid and apparently chaotic flight patterns of the swifts, while at the same time using gentle synth pad sounds to convey the beauty and stillness of the early evening in this stunning town.

The overall effect is one of the town standing still as a long, hot day draws to a close, while its skies are filled with activity as the swifts’ day is just beginning. Elements of the swifts’ calls are also incorporated into the rhythms, replacing snare and hat sounds as we bring rhythmic order to their disordered flight paths.

City version:

Memory version: