A few days ago, Rostam Batmanglij announced that he was leaving Vampire Weekend, the origin of his production superstardom. Luckily, the departure was amicable, with Batmanglij writing that he’d still be collaborating with Ezra Koenig outside the confines of the band. And both parties appear to be moving on; the remaining three members of Vampire Weekend are playing at a Bernie Sanders rally this weekend, and Batmanglij has taken the opportunity to release his first post-VW song, “Wood.”
The release was accompanied by a lengthy back story on his website, which explains that he started writing the song eight years ago. “It started on an airplane— it was a beat I made on my laptop with cut up tabla and digital sitar and me trying to push myself to write the hardest, fastest, most classical violin parts I could,” he wrote. “I spent years trying to figure out what to sing on top of it — even recording real string players without a vocal part written —before realizing that everything would have to clear out before my voice could enter the picture.”
Eventually, he figured out what he wanted to sing, and now we’ve got this beautiful, nearly six-minute-long song to remind us that Batmanglij is an absolutely brilliant musical mind. Combining classical Persian melodies and percussion with modern strings, guitar, and sitar, it’s reminiscent of The Beatles’ “The Inner Light,” but with the subtle brightness that Batmanglij brought to Vampire Weekend shining through. Check out the song below.