When The Sleeper Wakes

When The Sleeper Wakes

Music. lyrics, recording, mixing: Racheal Cogan.

Recorders, vocals, percussion: frame drum, bass drum, tom, whirly, cylinder shaker, sounds of shredding paper.


When the sleeper wakes with desire,
to reach both for the earth and the sky

It breathes right through my body,
and yours, and yours, and yours,
It rips me awake.
It cannot be contained

(When the sleeper wakes.)

My heart, it beats, slowly,
leaving blood and pieces of life behind

I walk by in a shimmering broken kind of grace

I started this piece with the idea of a kind of dark, very adult lullaby juxtaposing the ideas of being awake in this world and being asleep to ourselves. I was mulling on the idea that it is our life force of desire and libido that awakens us, rips us awake really because these things don’t ever seem to arrive in my life at least, in a convenient manner.

In Buddhist teachings desire is considered to be that which creates suffering. Here I am exploring the idea that desire and libido/life force are often pushed together and spoken about as if inseparable. I like the concept that it is sometimes a certain fluidity in linking and separating the two that can be key to our awakening in a very contradictory and unexpected manner that can lead to letting go of a whole heap of crap and becoming present and connected. I love contradictions in general, so for me, this is a fun idea. By chance, as a reflection of opposition, some of the vocal lines sounded really cool reversed, so that got included. I also include that sense in the body of a tingling all the way through in those moments when I am feeling present and connected physically to myself. To me personally, this often feels like a source that is channeled through the breath and when one person feels it, they can in a sense, breathe it through to another - ‘yours and yours and yours’. Though this is definitely my bias as a wind player.

To complicate my thought process a little more I was also mulling on ideas of boundaries and creating safe spaces - containers to explore challenging concepts and actions. I had just been reading Janet W. Hardy’s autobiography : Impervious. This is a story of a remarkable woman who walks right into a whole tonne of societal taboos, steps all over them, and explodes that ‘safe’ container messily and right in our faces. So there is this push and pull between safety and exploring the edges of things that are difficult to us, and that might even be unnecessary - or sometimes very necessary, but exploring to find out and become awake to our conditioning: ‘it cannot be contained’… and I started pondering the idea that, for me, rather than wishing a person Happy Christmas or Happy Valentine’s day, that it was more meaningful to say to my loved ones : ’May the container always explode in your face’. But that is my dark humour seeping through into the way I dislike Christmas and Valentine’s day and yeah, so i’m the Grinch. Suck it up.

So for me, making this music was a meditation on opposition, being asleep, being awake, desire and letting go of that, and also how we are all both so broken and so graceful at once that sometimes we shimmer brightly as we all walk past each other in our life stories. The ‘walking by’ idea is a very personal refection of my experiences of living in so many cities and countries and always being the one to leave - ‘leaving blood and pieces of life behind’. So, these are the thoughts I was mulling on while making a small very basic piece of music, my dark lullaby. Sweet dreams and may the container always explode in your face!