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Sounding in the new year in Venice

A new sound for a new year, with this field recording taken in Venice on New Year’s Eve 2021, outside Santa Lucia train station in Venice.

The bells nearest the train station are ringing for early evening mass while people hurry in and out of the station to carry on with their new year plans.

We listen to the bells then head into the station, listening out for platform announcements, conversations and all the ambience you’d expect from a train station buzzing with life at the end of the year.

City version:

In the reimagined piece, the clouds of arpeggiated synth notes represent the busy travellers coming in and out of the station, while the steadier bass pulses represent the surety and predictability of a rail timetable and the practical reliability of the trains taking people home.

The scene in the station on a foggy, freezing New Year’s Even put us in mind of the opening of Calvino’s novel If On A Winter’s Night A Traveler, so we included a (disembodied) voice reading aloud from the book to bring these worlds together.

The text is as follows:

The novel begins in a railway station, a locomotive huffs, steam from a piston covers the opening of the chapter, a cloud of smoke hides part of the first paragraph.
In the odor of the station there is a passing whiff of station café odor. There is someone looking through the befogged class, he opens the glass door of the bar, everything is misty, inside, too, as if seen by nearsighted eyes, or eyes irritated by coal dust.
The pages of the book are clouded like the windows of an old train, the cloud of smoke rests on the sentences. It is a rainy evening; the man enters the bar; he unbuttons his damp overcoat; a cloud of steam enfolds him; a whistle dies away along tracks that are glistening with rain, as far as the eye can see.

Memory version: