Machu Picchu

Album: Angles (2011)
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Songfacts®:

  • This is the opening track from Angles, the fourth studio album by the New York Rock band The Strokes. The song finds Julian Casablancas singing lines in his trademark mumble, which is mixed down so low, his lyrics get muffled. So it is particularly interesting to see what he has to say about the song's meaning. He explained to the UK music weekly, the NME: "There are lyrics about keeping yourself busy. 'I'm just trying to find a mountain I can climb,' and Machu Picchu is the Inca sacred place in the Andean mountains of Peru. So the title started out as a joke, but then the joke seemed fitted."
  • Recording sessions began with producer Joe Chiccarelli at Avatar Studios in Manhattan. The Strokes were fans of Chiccarelli's work on My Morning Jacket's 2008 album, Evil Urges, but it soon became apparent that their relationship with the producer wasn't going to pan out. About 10 weeks into recording, they ditched him Swedish mix master Gus Oberg, who was serving as co-engineer on Angles. The band reconvened at guitarist Albert Hammond Jr.'s home studio, One Way, in Upstate New York, while Julian recorded his vocals separately at Electric Ladyland.

    Oberg recalled to Sound on Sound: "The band knew what they wanted, but they also wanted to try out everything, which is why they had approached Joe. Mainly they wanted to experiment with different textures and sounds, because the arrangements and lyrics that they had already recorded on the demos stayed more or less the same. They disagreed with the direction in which Joe took the sounds - basically he wanted to go big with everything, and they wanted to do different things in each song. Joe was very hands-on with the recordings, he knew what he wanted, and the band played together for most of the time. About 18 songs were recorded during these sessions. After the Avatar sessions I went to Electric Lady, where I recorded Julian's vocals. Joe did come by at one stage, but by then it had become obvious that he and the band were not going to carry on working together."
  • Co-producing with Oberg, the band reworked nearly everything they'd done with Chiccarelli, except for the track "Life Is Simple In The Moonlight" and some of the guitar bits from the Avatar sessions. Says Oberg: "I guess we worked for about two weeks at a*time, with me engineering by myself. In between this, I would record Julian's vocals again at Electric Lady. This rhythm kept going until the end of November, when we went into mixing, and after that there was three months of mastering."
  • This was used in the 2014 movie She's Lost Control, starring Brooke Bloom and Marc Menchaca.

Comments: 1

  • Zach from I Live On An Island, WaSomething to do with prostitution?
    "Selling your body to the street.
    I'm selling your girlfriends to the night, for cheap"
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