Whenever the phrase “the artist” is followed by a serious and universal declaration of some sort in my English class, it would surely be Will Liu ’24 who uttered that sentence. Very rarely do I meet someone like Will, someone who is so deeply engaged in his artistic creation and views his work as an extension of himself. Unlike the excessive usage of irony and single-layered melancholy that increasingly defines the artistic energy of our generation, Will is interested in something greater, something that is universal in an artist’s experience across time and space, a serious dedication to art that sustains his life. I find myself sympathizing with his ideals, even connecting with them personally, albeit in a slightly different, less insistent manner than himself. Unfortunately, in our modern age, this type of seriousness carries a constant sense of misfit. The heroic image of oneself often turns absurd before it can take shape under the influence of social media, and long works of art not aimed at the quickest release of our constant anxiety dangerously run counter to our basic sensibility.

In Undoing a Constellation, Will upholds his artistic standards. It is a long album, at more than one hour and 20 minutes, featuring the theme of distance. Describing the type of distance people experience in their lives at one point or another with those around them, the album talks about those moments when there seems to be a translucent plastic layer between us and everyone else. It also expresses a sense of deep longing when we are distant from the people we love deeply, when we can hear their voices but are not able to reach them physically, when we are unwilling to say goodbye, as if by saying goodbye, we are permanently letting go of something that is never recoverable ever again. To express this sense of distance, Will employs the common theme of the Space Age throughout this album. This is the perfect metaphor to employ, as the Space Age encapsulates the type of excitement that comes from great distance as well as the deep and grandeur sorrow that an astronaut experiences when looking at Earth as nothing but a tiny speck from their circular window.

Most importantly, Undoing a Constellation is also a testament to the specific position Will has staked out as an artist. Made across four different bedrooms with the obsessive insistence to finish every single part of this album on his own, the album was two years in the making. In my conversation with Will, he admitted that there are still many details that he would like to improve upon. But by the end, working on this album had simply become too much of a painful struggle for him. Nevertheless, Will is not planning on stopping anytime soon. To him, music is what sustains life, and without music, life ceases making sense. “I have to write something…” Will told me, “I have to create.” The pure, burning, and serious passion of this artist is something of a hidden gem. It might not be the most popular, yet it is no less valuable simply because it exists. And it is not going away any time soon.