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Stay at home! Lockdown in Milan

As part of our #StayHomeSounds project, we’ve been collecting and also reimagining the sounds of the global lockdown – today we’re visiting Milan, Italy at the height of the lockdown in March 2020, with a brand new composition inspired by the “stay at home” messages being broadcast in neighbourhoods across the city.

The original field recording is by Sara Passoni, who told us:

“Milan, Lombardy, Italy, March 29th: the local police is driving around the neighbourhood, urging the population to stay at home by means of a recorded message on behalf of the city mayor, which is played through a loudspeaker.

“Meanwhile, one of the countless ambulances is running for the next emergency. No traffic: only birds and ambulances can be heard in a normally very busy and loud city.

“Lombardy has paid the highest death toll in Italy. We’ve sung together from our balconies, we’ve made friends with our neighbours: I drink aperitifs with them at dusk, each of us from our balcony, and we have a chat together. It helps feeling we’re not alone, that we care for each other.”

City version:

Richard Watts was inspired by the original recording to produce this piece, “Attenzione”:

“In the original recording there is a sense of normality before the “Stay at home” announcement which I like. I have used a sample of the background noise and treated it using a multi-effect three different settings to create the random rhythm. The drums are supposed to be the quickening heartbeat after the announcement.”

Memory version: