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Venice bells on Christmas Eve

This is perhaps my favourite field recording of 2017 – the bells of Venice ringing out spectacularly over the rooftops on Christmas Eve.

Christmas in Venice is always a special time – the city is simultaneously much quieter than usual as the tourists have mostly left, but there’s still that special Christmas atmosphere everywhere you go.

At the top of the palazzo at Fontego dei Tedeschi there’s a roof terrace affording some of the most incredible views of the city – but also one of the most impressive soundscapes.

On the hour, church bells ring out across the city as usual, starting with one or two churches, then blossoming into dozens and even hundreds.

From atop the roof terrace you can hear it all, as a glorious choir of ancient bell chimes surrounds you from all sounds.

This was such a beautiful field recording that for the recomposed version I was keen to keep the sound of the bells front and centre and relatively untouched, simply moving them around the stereo field a little.

The other sounds, swirling beds of synths and other sound design elements, create the impression that if you tune into the airwaves over Venice, alongside the ancient sound of the bells untouched by time, the modern world is inexorably – if invisibly in this case – intruding.

City version:

Memory version: