Markus Lake has been making music in bands and under various guise for almost two decades. However, it was not until he started releasing music under the Markus Floats moniker in 2010 that we started to get a better idea of what he was all about.
After his auspicious ‘Untitled’ mini CDr in 2010 there was a seven year wait for his flawless debut album ‘First Album’, which was was then followed by 2018’s sublime ‘Second Album’. Now he has returned with, you guessed it, ‘Third Album’.
The standout track is ‘Always’. Here Lake changes tempo from the measure soundscapes to something that pops. Synths shower down on a subdued bassline before an energetic beat kicks in. As ‘Always’ progresses, things slow down and understated synths take over, before gently petering out. This change of pace was important, as it broke up the tonal progression of the opening tracks, and ushers in the appearance of more beats and blips.
Throughout ‘Third Album’ there is a glacial slowness to the productions. Lake takes his time. There is no need to rush. Rushing would only speed up the point he is making, thus leaving us with a shorter track and a slightly unfilled feeling when it ends. Instead, Lake painstakingly constructs layers of sound that create emotional responses. This is evident on ‘And’ and ‘Froward Again’. ‘Forward Again’ opens with joyous keyboard while brooding synths, and the sound of waves, before it reaches a glorious peak. This peak is one of the pinnacle moments on ‘Third Album’. It may only last a few moments, but it lingers with you long after ‘Forward Again’ ends.
‘And’ consists of drone, after drone, after drone, like gently waves breaking on the shore. As one hits another has already started in the distance. Lake just keeps setting up the drones, until he is happy with the results and just lets them fade out.
‘Third Album’ is not an album to listen to, but to experience. As the songs are more about emotional responses than digging a beat, or melody. Of course, there are incredibly crafted melodies throughout, but Lake is not just interested in that. He wants his music to mean something. There is a heady optimism to the album. Instead of claustrophobic soundscapes, Lake has built elegant drones around pockets of space that allow the songs, and listener, to breathe.
Rather unexpectedly the album also gives us more information on Lake and his work ethic. When read together the track titles tell a tale. ‘Forward’, it starts, ‘And’, Forward Again’. ‘Always’, ‘Moving’ ‘Forward Always’. And moving forward Lake is. Here Lake delivers another collection of songs that build on his first two albums but showcase a new confidence in his songwriter and compositions.
Let us hope ‘Fourth Album’ is not too long in the offing.
Words: Nick Roseblade
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