Venice Day Two: Hotel Room Tone

There are many who argue that field recording is too often focused on the exotic. Yet ideally shouldn’t travel stimulate the senses? As we walk through unfamiliar surroundings we encounter sights and sounds that can provoke new ways of seeing and listening. For me one of the greatest
listening pleasures is found in the tones of hotel rooms
Here in Venice the most obvious sounds are the footsteps and chatter of the thousands of tourists who descend upon its alleyways each day. The relentlessness of these sounds in Venice’s narrow confined spaces can be a little overwhelming. Returning to the hotel is one place to retreat and recharge.

I love hotels for their artificial construct of “home”. Cheap prints on walls, plastic flowers and ornaments all attempt to lull the guest into a contrived sense of domesticity.

One of the first things I often notice in hotel rooms is their room tone. By insulating their walls from outside noise the internal sounds rise to the foreground. The juxtaposition between the attempts at interior design and the electrical hums emanating from the walls is always enjoyably unsettling.

This Venetian apartment is no exception.

I noticed its tone during a restless sleep and recorded it at daybreak. The recording has been amplified considerably. It adds to my collection of other room tones recorded in hotels during my travels.

These interior hotel-room recordings transport me back to a time and place as much as the sounds which lay outside their walls. They are sounds captured from exotic locations yet they are common to the mundane fabric of industrial life around the world. By recording in faraway spaces we can indeed uncover the similarities of human existence.

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