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Markus Floats
Fourth Album

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    CST174   180gLP + art prints • CD • DL

    Release date: 20 October 2023

    Duration: 33:03

     

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    "Until now, Montreal electronic artist Markus Floats has worked alone. On Fourth Album, he welcomes contributions from free-improv ensemble Egyptian Cotton Arkestra, lacing their instrumentation into delicate, textural works, concluding with the sampled voice of powerhouse thinker Fred Moten."Aquarium Drunkard • Best Albums Of 2023

    “Painstakingly arranged electronic compositions… delicate, textural works where everything remains in its right place.” - Jesse Locke • Bandcamp Album Of The Day


    Fourth Album is another push forward for the composer - a record of surprising and sometimes exquisite joinery.” - Brennan McCracken, Musicworks

    "Fans of Markus Floats‘ Third Album will receive the fourth record as an expansion of timbre and theme; newcomers may go back to seek out his Constellation debut. That percolating record was filled with layer upon MIDI layer, as effervescent as sparkling water.  On Fourth Album, the artist invites musicians from Egyptian Cotton Arkestra to improvise over an electronic base: Ari Swan on violin, James Nicholas Dumile Goddard on saxophone and mbira and Lucas Huang on drums and guitar. The collaborative effort is an organic-electronic blend, a shared vision that is more than the sum of its parts. The entire album offers shifting perspectives, alternate viewpoints, the benefit of multiple voices." - A Closer Listen

    “Puts Markus’ electronic compositions in a different context… it feels massive and airy at the same time - a huge scope but with reflective moments as well. Intoxicating and kind of unreal.” - Brad Rose, Foxy Digitalis

    The follow-up to his acclaimed Constellation debut Third Album released in lockdown spring 2020, Markus Floats returns with Fourth Album, pushing the Montréal-based artist’s distinct abstract electronic compositions into newly evocative terrain (while preserving his record-titling literalism). Faced with another couple of years spent unexpectedly, though not unfamiliarly, secluded and studio-bound, working on both paintings and music, Floats emerged by the end of 2022 with a set of tracks “about 60% finished” and a determined desire to throw off the shackles of distancing and isolation. “I had always thought about Markus Floats as a solo project but I am wrong about that. Fourth Album is about asking for help, inviting in, and making a home. It’s about trust, exploration, and the effort of letting go.”

    Sharing his in-progress recordings with a trio of close friends and collaborators from the powerhouse free music ensemble Egyptian Cotton Arkestra, each of these players then spent a day improvising to the tracks at Montréal’s Hotel2Tango studio. With violin by Ari Swan, saxophone and mbira by James Goddard, and guitar and drums by Lucas Huang, Floats stitched their extemporized instruments back into his compositional process. The result is a fluid, lustrous, dynamic expansion of his sound and structure that continues to strike the ineffable balance of abstraction and soulfulness rightly highlighted and celebrated in the critical response to Third Album. Fourth Album sustains much of that previous work’s enchanting equanimity, while inviting a bit more restlessness, accident and grit, with the incorporation of acoustic instruments and improvisation melding Floats’ own background in Electroacoustic Studies and Jazz Performance more than ever before.

    Signature avant-electronic explorations of arpeggiated and timbral transformation, subtle shifts in harmonic consonance and dissonance, and a through-composed praxis that draws coterminously upon free jazz, musique concrète and modern Minimalism, all continue to shape Fourth Album to great effect. But an additional palette of sonic and gestural raw material is now also decidedly “out-of-the-box”, charting a wider range of gestures, textures and temporalities. Fourth Album complexifies and intensifies across its 12 tracks, thematizing dualities and introducing new elements of play and accident, even a sort of looseness here and there, as it conjures communal expressivity within shorter, still scrupulous formal structures. Fourth Album also for the first time includes spoken word as a recorded element, previously only (and always) a feature of Markus Floats live performances. The album’s final track samples the poet and activist Fred Moten, closing with these words: “What we’ve been trying to figure out how to get to is how we are when we get together to try to figure it out.” This koan of socially-engaged process and creation/advancement of meaning through praxis and immanence reflects the unique fusion of intangible materiality and affective sensibility at work in Markus Floats music, unfolding with new depths and currents with Fourth Album.


    PACKAGING NOTES

    180gram LP Art Edition comes in 350gsm Arktika jacket and 300gsm Arktika inner with two 12"x24" art prints on 170gsm uncoated paper, all featuring original artwork by Markus Floats. Jacket has colour flood inside. Vinyl includes download card.

    CD comes in a 20pt uncoated paperboard mini-gatefold jacket featuring original artwork by Markus Floats.


    CREDITS

    All songs written, produced and mixed on unceded Indigenous land in Tiohtià:ke / Montréal by Markus Lake

    Ari Swan: violin
    James Nicholas Dumile Goddard: saxophone & mbira
    Lucas Huang: drums & guitar
    Markus Lake: electronics

    Fred Moten appears courtesy of Dr. Moten
    Recorded at Hotel2Tango in Tiohtià:ke / Montréal in February 2023 by Ky Brooks
    Mastered by Harris Newman
    Artwork by Markus Lake
    Photographed by Stacy Lee
    A special thanks to all the punks


    We acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Québec, The Canada Council for the Arts, the Government of Canada and Canada’s private radio broadcasters. Nous reconnaissons l’appui financier du gouvernement du Québec, du Conseil des Arts du Canada, du gouvernement du Canada et des radiodiffuseurs privés du Canada.