While we’re coming up on a decade since The Walkmen last released an album, it’s certainly hard to complain about a lack of output from each of the band’s five core members. Multi-instrumentalist Peter Matthew Bauer even launched his own label, Fortune Tellers, after releasing a pair of solo records, through which he released a vibrant new single earlier this year. Following that track is “One Pair of Blue Eyes,” which feels much more like the solo output of a member of Animal Collective than it does a Walkmen offshoot—though a Walkmen-esque guitar rattles through the chanting and psychedelic loops that constitute the rest of the track.
“This song came from a session I found recently from maybe 2014,” Bauer shares. “I came across it while looking for some inspiration for something to work on and have tried to piece together the mystery of what the music sampled in the song is since then. Around the time they started making the first iPods, my old bandmate Walter Martin started digitizing a ton of records from his record collection and passing them around. I believe it’s from one of those digitized recordings, but he can’t identify it and neither can any further detective work on my side. I believe it’s an Indonesian recording of some form of ‘The Ramayana.’ At least, the audio is labeled ‘Ramayan.’
“This is also sort of interesting,” he continues, “as ‘The Ramayana’ was treated like a Christmas pageant of sorts by the hippies at the Ashram my family was involved in while I grew up. I think I played Lakshman when I was three or four. Everything here was a form of rediscovery. I’d been having a lot of trouble writing words and suddenly stumbled on an old notebook of lyrics and cut those up into what became this song. The last few years I’ve been really interested in how influence, recording, and sampling are all kinds of modes of time travel or at least time bending, so in a sense this song is about that.”
Hear the single below.