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Montreal’s Markus Floats meshes kosmiche, free jazz and folk-classical with a curious appeal as found on his 2020 debut with local stalwarts Constellation, and here more diverse and unruly
‘Fourth Album’ is also Markus’ 2nd for the label who brought GY!BE and Matana Roberts to the world, and exists in a strange space between the former’s post rock thrust and the latter’s imaginative avant blues travelogues, but with dreamy, dis/cordant weirdness of his own. His previous album emerged at the height of the 2020 lockdown and snagged our ears and others on its pitching, deliquescent synth arrangements of a curdled kosmiche tone and ecstatic raptures that he expands upon here.
The more layered and wayward arrangements can be attributed to the inclusion of additional personnel, notably American cultural theorist, poet, and scholar Fred Moten, who voices the album’s brooding, closing swell of strings and synth bass, and also the likes of Ari Swan (violin), James Nicholas Dumile Goddard (saxophone & mbira), and Lucas Huang (drums & guitar), who complement Markus’ synthetic palette with acoustic skin, hair and teeth.
Written, produced and mixed on unceded Indigenous land in Tiohtià:ke / Montréal, the music oscillates a broader emotional register than previous, openign out with a playfully cinematic intro across more succinct pieces that fleet from the joy of ‘Death’ and escalating arps of ‘Free Wifi’ to wickedly dissonant hyperfolk in ‘As Above’ to a more quizzical flipside with the gnawing melancholy of his ‘Death Pt.2’, and the free jazz blizzard ‘So Below’, with spiky psychedelic jazz-funk in ‘Heaven is each Other’ and a brilliant ‘Second Introduction’ of soured, calving strings clearly from he Constellation cabal.