This is the first single from Tao of the Dead, the seventh studio album by Texan rock band ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead. The LP is split into two parts, Part I and II, each recorded in a different tuning (Part I is in D, while II is in F). Part I, "Tao of the Dead", is split into eleven tracks, whereas Part II, "The Ship Impossible" is five tracks combined into one.
Frontman Conrad Keely explained in an interview with Spin magazine that the format is a homage to his childhood influences. "It's the way I listened to albums when I was a kid, seeing as some of my favorite records were Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, Yes' Relayer, and Close to the Edge, and Rush's Hemispheres. I always liked listening to records that were just a continuous piece, like an orchestra or a symphony."