Updated: Jun 24, 2020
Awake // like the ocean // but the water // it is still
Wait in the open // we’re not broken // we’re not scared
Away from the motion // the commotion and the fear
These lyrics are meant to highlight the silver lining of isolation, which has offered a unique opportunity to focus on ourselves, whether that be through means of self-improvement (e.g., improved eating, exercising, or daily habits) or simply by indulging in the serenity and peacefulness that has accompanied the solitude brought on by pandemic. Speaking from personal experience, enjoying myself without any regard for deadlines or curricular activities has always been guilt-inducing. Having spent my whole life as a student, I have not only become accustomed to structure and deadlines – but I have been shaped by them, to some extent. Awake is about coming to terms with this new normal and, in doing so, indulging in moments of guilt-free pleasure. To some, this might involve volunteer activity or academic research. To others, it might simply mean taking the time to catch up on old hobbies or learning a new one. For myself, it means both. More importantly, Awake is about approaching this newfound free time with the same degree of “awake-ness” as we approached our daily lives prior to the pandemic. This is eluded to in the opening lyrics “Awake // like the ocean // but the water // it is still”. Although our lives may seem more stagnant than ever, we remain very much awake.
On the technical side of things, my goal was to create a composition that emulated the ebbs and flows of ocean water and further emphasized the oceanic metaphor in the lyrics. In this way, Awake opens with minimal instrumentation – simple vocals and acoustic guitar – and eventually swells to encompass multiple vocal harmonies, guitars, bass, piano, and percussive elements. Following this climactic build, the song abruptly returns to a minimalist structure – emulating the cyclical nature of ocean tides and reminding the listener, once again, that although the water may be still at the moment, the ocean is more awake than ever.
Artist Bio: Conscious Uncoupling consists of Andrew McDonald and Braedon Paul. We are two MSI3s who were inspired to create and record music together in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. These pieces of music came together by recording and sending each other bits and pieces from our respective home studios and then stitching the final product together.