"Meticulously composed and utterly absorbing... At the beginning of “Forward Again,” which opens with a chiming, charming synth arpeggio, I unexpectedly started crying. Such is the power of this patient, abstract record. The textures Floats explores might feel jarring or unsettling at first, but as different elements and layers commingle carefully, they transform into some sort of transcendent, almost spiritual sound-world. Take a moment away from the digital information firehose and listen; it might crack open something necessary in you too." – Bandcamp Daily
"With his lively blips and pleasing, resolute drones, Third Album conveys a sense of determination and urgency while maintaining a meditative quality. The compositions decidedly hold one's gaze with their densely layered, well-produced drones, organic samples and clean electronic arpeggios. The message is simple — "Forward Always," but pay close attention to the ever-changing moment." – Exclaim!
"There are incredibly crafted melodies throughout... Instead of claustrophobic soundscapes, Lake has built elegant drones around pockets of space that allow the songs, and listener, to breathe." – Clash
"Lake assembles different layers of sound, their juxtaposition creating harmonious combinations or surprising contrasts... Lake’s ambient is often drone-like, but its horizontality is sometimes broken by the roar of celestial organs, robotic clatter, stridulations emitted by metallic cicadas, or spiralling arpeggios rising to the surface like clusters of bursting golden bubbles. Other artists come to mind, such as Kraftwerk or Christian Fennesz, but Markus Floats already has a fascinating world of his own." – PAN M 360
"Lake has cogently utilized euphoric & exultant organ chords alongside very complimentary strings for his third album. Chirpy, padding tones bristle with an infectious joy. Digital sparks & fizzes tumble and spread like time-lapsed footage of the undergrowth burgeoning with life... This is an album that focuses the mind, cleanses thoughts and provides space for something greater, something higher to step in." – Echoes and Dust
"The contemplative, often introspective moods on Third Album afford an opportunity to breathe... It’s an album of tough love, of beauty in the obvious transience of things." – Beats Per Minute
"Third Album is an assured bulletin from a musician with a clear aesthetic and a knowledge that the point of any work is to make the statement, enjoy it, then declare, "what's next?" That kind of rapacious and roving appetite for creation makes Lake a man to watch." – PopMatters
"A beautiful work of expressionism, juxtaposing dissonant drones and bright arpeggiated synths to create intricate soundscapes that demand careful listening… Lake’s punk and post-punk background shows through in his use of tension – his compositions, even in their quieter moments, never lose their momentum." – Maisonneuve
Third Album is the Constellation debut from Montréal-based multi-disciplinary artist and musician/composer Markus Lake, an active force in the city’s DIY music community who’s been releasing synthetic audio works under the Markus Floats moniker over the past decade – alongside playing bass in wide range of punk, post-punk, experimental and Afrofuturist outfits (including Elle Barbara’s Black Space and Egyptian Cotton Arkestra) and co-founding the local indie music space Drones Club.
With a background in Jazz Performance and Electroacoustic Studies, Lake’s solo work is also guided by a painterly sensibility, and informed by a variety of conceptual interests: non-linear narrative composition; sonic simulacra and naturalizing the digital; poptimism vs avant-gardism; the attentive/ceremonial possibilities of 21st century ‘music for speakers’ (and headphones) in a culture of bombast, nostalgia, and immediate gratification. The music of Markus Floats might best be described as idiosyncratic aural Abstract Expressionism, where melodic gestures, sequenced pulses, atonal clusters and granulated textures are arranged like shapes and strokes of timbral hue and depth.
Using primarily in-the-box midi instruments, along with a handful of samples and field recordings, Third Album is through-composed and atypically but unfailingly expressive – like ruminative action painting in sound. Synthetic notes and chords extrapolate in transitory semi-improvised harmonic and melodic themes, often referencing organ sounds of alternately liturgical and souljazz resonance. The album combines a sort of incantatory, exploratory, desecrated dark lounge with more formal touchstones of electronic composition, where arpeggiators surface and recede amidst shifting drones, distortions and dissonances. The result is a highly original, succinct and lucid set of synthetic-electronic tracks that defies genre: brimming with ideas but not overworked; methodical and discreet but not unassuming or underplayed; deeply integrated in its own ineffable, evocative chronicle of colour, shape and space.
Third Album is a wonderfully distinctive work of leftfield electronic composition and the most distilled music Markus Floats has recorded to date. (In concert, each Floats live performance is specific and unique: he combines his soundscapes with carefully selected spoken word recordings from the black literary canon.) Constellation is delighted to welcome Markus to the roster and to be releasing Third Album with artwork that features his own paintings, including in a deluxe 180gram vinyl edition with an exquisite 12”x24” pull-out art print reproduction.
03 Forward Again
06 Forward Always
Running time: 00:32:56
Deluxe LP is a 180gram pressing on midnight ultrablack vinyl in 20pt uncoated paperboard jacket with yellow ink flood on the inside, audiophile black paper poly-lined dust sleeve for the record, and a 12” x 24” art print reproduction on uncoated archival 160m paper featuring an original painting by the artist. Includes DL card.
CD comes in a custom mini-gatefold 20pt paperboard jacket featuring paintings by the artist. Includes a cardstock inner sleeve for the disc (not pictured).
"Every song you hear is about yourself.
Hearing is your relationship to the heard.
Every song heard is about yourself.
When you hear, you hear yourself.
Hear yourself, when you hear.
Hear a mirror. Hear your reflection, and hear everything in the mirror,
and hear the mirror itself.
It’s in the making that we ourselves are made.
The decision to create is itself the creating.
The most important act is already done;
the results are at best: moving, serene, memorable, distracting, pleasurable,
… at worst: boring.
Either is fine.
The work is the work, make it and let it go.
The work doesn’t matter, it’s just the work.
Every song you hear is about yourself.
A sizeable chunk of the music I listened to while growing up was made by my peers. Because of this I think I always assumed music trends were much quicker than they actually are, and that when I was older (now), popular music would be inconceivably different. I mean, music being produced today certainly sounds different than it did when I was younger. But I thought by now we’d be past Pop in toto. Don’t get me wrong, I love Pop; I’m just surprised we’re still into it the way we are. I just assumed we’d be into something else by now. I think I'm trying to make that music myself. Music is quite different than the other arts, but I think it's important to remember that it's still an Art. An expression of self. A grasp at something greater. A pursuit that reflects its origins; deigning to express an elusive zeitgeist. I wouldn't be so vain as to say that this record does this in any way shape or form, but I would be so bold as to hope that maybe by the Fourth, Fifth...Fifteenth...Sixtieth album, just maybe, I'll be getting closer. Until then, I hope you enjoy this reflection." – Markus Floats
All songs written, produced, performed and mixed on unceded Indigenous land in Tiohtiá:ke/Montréal by Markus Lake
Mastered by Harris Newman
Artwork by Markus Lake
Photographed by Stacy Lee