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Song From Underneath The Floorboards

Chanelle Nguyen

Adam lives in the bedroom directly below mine. For the past month or two, he has been working on a new song on his guitar, with which I had after some days become all too familiar. From beneath my bedroom floorboards I had heard the same chord progression played in perpetuity as he presumably chiselled away at whichever melody might best be suited to lay over the top of the music.

This quickly became a challenge which my subconscious had decided to undertake itself. I found myself humming my own melody over the top of the muffled sound of his playing, as it made its way up through his ceiling, and realised I quite liked what resulted. So, I made an effort to audiate as much as I could from the more resilient frequencies which hadn’t already been absorbed by the wood and plaster, worked out what to do on my guitar, and recorded my ideas on my computer. I finished this sort of song once-removed and airdropped it to Adam directly into his bedroom. I called the file “Song from Under the Floorboards but literally” - playing on the title of a song by Magazine from their 1980 album The Correct Use Of Soap. My song is based on only the most repetitive section of Adam’s piece, its verse; to lean on the cliché coined by Elizabeth Margulis that ‘repetition is the handprint of human intent’, Adam’s ‘handprint’ formed the basis around which I traced to create this song. In order to keep this concealed I will perhaps suggest you listen first to mine, and then Adam’s afterwards.


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