Markus Lake is multidisciplinary artist, musician and composer based in Montréal/Tiotia’ke. He has performed and released synthetic audio works under the Markus Floats moniker over the past decade, alongside playing bass in a wide range of punk, post-punk, experimental and Afrofuturist outfits (including Elle Barbara’s Black Space, Sheer Agony, Silver Dapple and Egyptian Cotton Arkestra). He co-founded the local indie music space Drones Club and has been an active force in the Montréal’s DIY music community since relocating to the city from his native Calgary in 2008. Lake is a graduate of the Electroacoustic Studies program at Concordia University and has a prior background in Jazz Performance.
Lake’s musical practice began in Calgary, Alberta at the age of 16. He became involved in community activism, working in projects like Food Not Bombs, attending and eventually promoting all-ages punk shows, while playing in post-punk band The Incandescence. These experiences initiated and molded a DIY ethic which grounds his art and politics to the present. Having played bass in rock bands for the majority of his youth, Lake craved new creative expression upon his move to Montreal and began to make music on his own, eventually launching his solo experimental project Markus Floats. "For the first time I found the freedom to explore my own ideas; experiment with the structures, tonalities and music making methods that I found most interesting."
Since his 2011 debut EP on Jesse Locke’s Dream Sequence imprint, Markus Floats' recordings and live shows have explored themes of attention, obscurity, visibility and repetition through an expanding palette of digital instruments. These electronic works are often jazz-inflected in their measured exploration of formal/tonal dissonance and through-composed with abrupt dynamic shifts in a spirit that references both musique concrète and free jazz. Live performance is always accompanied by a specific sampling or reading from the black literary canon while on recorded releases the music mostly sits on its own. The music is also intrinsically informed by Lake’s painterly sensibility and his abstract canvasses serve as additional context in Markus Floats' album art.
Third Album was released by Constellation in March 2020. Echoes And Dust described it as "an album that focuses the mind, cleanses thoughts and provides space for something greater, something higher to step in... it’s like opening yourself up for gentle worship." Beats Per Minute deemed it "an album of tough love, of beauty in the obvious transience of things, and a deviation into a world that is simultaneously cold and distracted by itself, whilst also being reassuring and warm when needed." Clash praised Lake for building "elegant drones around pockets of space that allow the songs, and listener, to breathe."
Lake has worked extensively in the past with saxophonist James Goddard and on Fourth Album, he is also joined by Ari Swan and Lucas Huang, all of whom perform together as Egyptian Cotton Arkestra. Markus Floats' Fourth Album releases on Constellation in October 2023.
20 Aug 2023 - Montréal, QC @"Montréal celluloïd" at L'Entrepôt 77 [with Charles-André Coderre + Frédéric Dallaire]