Periodically, I toy with different ideas to explain consciousness. I've not yet found one that is convincing, but do keep trying. Most recently, I've wondered whether rethinking "time" and "memory" might lead in a fruitful direction:
Human memory works in a very fluid way. It isn't built up in large, discrete chunks or files like in a computer. For example, if you watch a plane go across the sky, the fact that you're even able to register that it's moving, requires an act of memory. If you couldn't remember where it was a second ago, you couldn't tell how fast it was moving. Everything you observe that you notice is engaging with your memory.
Experienced meditators talk about attempting to "live in the present moment" -- to focus intently on the present, in a way without really trying. But since when you perceive something -- like a plane flying across the sky -- you are applying memory, you are actually living a little bit in the past, or in your own mind. In fact, if you could live fully in the present moment, you would not perceive time; and, would not be conscious at all.
I have wondered -- conjectured / theorized -- whether what we perceive as "consciousness", occurs at the nexus between where information flows into the brain, and where it becomes consolidated into memories. You experience the sight and smell of a beautiful red rose; and the raw essence of that conscious experience is happening at the exact same place and time as the memory of that moment is forming.
But what about when you remember something that happened? You're not forming memories, and there is no sensory input. Well, ok, the "sensory input" can come from within your own brain. And... studies have shown that the act of remembering doesn't work the way we think it does -- in the process of remembering, we also change those memories; and so, this case doesn't really disprove my theory (that consciousness occurs at the nexus...), as you are forming new memories, in the process of remembering.
Regardless, even if my theory were true, it still wouldn't bridge the gulf between "phenomenal experience", on the one hand, and the boring neuro-electrical processes explainable by science, on the other. There is still that "explanatory gap". But I do feel it might help with this problem, since if it were true, at least you'd know where to look for an explanation, if there is an explanation to be found.