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Porcelain in the Backpack - Sand and Loam

Porcelain in the backpack is Marcus Held from Leipzig, Germany, and we are glad to release 'Sand and Loam', a six track ep, which is his very first release.

Marcus makes a very special blend of electronic music, combining strange instruments, field recordings, and hyper processed sounds. However, what we feel is most important about his music is the emotional emphasis placed in each of his tracks, regardless of the sonorous differences between them.

His particular approach to making music involves taking sounds from an array of sources, particularly acoustic instruments. The composition process which follows involves a kind of granular synthesis, whereby he creates a unique flow of organic and nearly tangible sound. Tracks like 'The Burrowbuilder Comes Home' and 'The Branch was High and the Way was Long' are perfect examples of this, as melodies are lost in waves of overlapping sound.
Sand and loam is another moving piece of work, both evocative and haunting. Each track seems to tell a nostalgic story of the past, with some deep seeded melancholic significance, that the listener is never meant to let go of or forget.




Track List:

  • 01. The Midwife is Missing
  • 02. Touching the Ground Crossing the Air
  • 03. Eddy of Leaves
  • 04. Silent Giants
  • 05. The Branch was High and the Way was Long
  • 06. The Burrowbuilder Comes Home


Download ZIP file from zymogen.

General Info:

-Cover image by Nele Goetz
-Mastering by Sven Swift


© Marcus Held
© Zymogen

Cover Artwork:
© Nele Goetz
© Zymogen

This work (audio tracks, cover, text) is licensed under a creative commons license.



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Reviews for this release

"Soundscape." Often used, rarely adequately defined. I believe that this is a smart-sounding term used by reviewers to describe music that relies on heavily textured layers of sound overlapping and intertwining to create a "deep" feeling--the depth, in this sense is the seemingly all encompassing span of the layers, the continuity they give to a piece of music like the horizon effect of a landscape painting. Other's may have their own definition. I encourage you to come up with your own and discuss it amongst other interested parties if you should happen to run out of interesting things to talk about. No doubt reviewers are falling all over themselves to use the term "soundscape" to describe the music of Porcelain in the Backpack--otherwise known as one Marcus Held, of Leipzig, Germany. One has to admit, the nature imagery on the album cover and the intense layering of sounds on the tracks contained make for a warm invitation to use a catch word like "soundscape"...
Amidst sonic whorls, streaming bits of static and drones, indecipherable field recordings, there are stringed instruments fluttering--a guitar, perhaps, or a mandolin--and bits of rhythmic structure, samples or drum machines, that perhaps suggest a song more than form one. Indeed, the structure to these songs is always what is just off-stage, how very Shakespearian: the world outside of the purview of the song is effecting it in noticeable ways but not in notable ways--we can see the action, and we can feel the structure but we can't exactly touch it. It is this, and the pointed textures of the samples and occasionally the drum machines, that keep this record from becoming a flat drone or just another self-indulgent attempt at sound collage that doesn't work but allows one to consider oneself (and be considered) daring. Each track is an exercise in elusiveness, in-betweenness, interplay--organic and synthesized, structured and non, tonality and atonality, rhythm and randomness. The abrupt stops that end several of the tracks seem to remind us that the worlds created by the songs are not only elusive, but illusive as well--while the structure seems fleeting over the course of each piece, at times the entire piece comes to a complete stop leaving open the question of where the track was headed or is headed. There is something that feels anti-authoritarian about this, instead of delivering a pay-off preordained by the generic conventions of ambient or drone music--instead of manufacturing, through means heavily codified, an emotional connection some of the pieces simply refuse. It stops. The next track begins. This does not seem to be manipulation, instead it seems to be a refusal to be defined by conventional patterns of interaction between music/musician/listener. The contract that says that the listener will feel "this" when the musician does "this" is broken and we move on.
Standout tracks, though they are near impossible to pick out, include the opening piece (big shock) entitled "The Midwife is Missing" with its subtle melodies and fleeting structure that fade in and out and then disappear abruptly; "Eddy of Leaves" with its folkish guitar (and is that a banjo?) and what sounds like a distorted harmonica, waves of static and sounds dancing around the strings and a brooding bass line and finally the warm tones, trickling strings and plaintive piano of "The Burrowbuilder Comes Home" which develops to an interesting rhythmic anti-climax, various sounds running down the sides of the piece like rain on a cliff-face. Okay, that was a little bit of an indulgent description but its my party and I'll indulge if I want to. :-)
In a lot of ways this is a perfect record: it is emotionally mature, musically complex, multi-layered but always interesting. It is warm at times, cold at others but always seems to find the right places in between, not a impartial in-betweenness, instead this record seems to recognize the creativity of the spaces in between musical discourses and structures, between organic sounds and electronically produced sounds. Porcelain in the Backpack explore these spaces with tantalizing results, finding beauty in the undefined or partially defined, in the creative act of refusal that makes elusiveness a resistant identity.
La Garza / 31 Jan 2008

Estreia do artista sonoro alemão Marcus Held (aka Porcelain in the Backpack), de Leipzig, Alemanha, com Sand and Loam (zym017), o seu primeiro EP na zymogen, netlabel italiana de fina escolha e critério apertado, goste-se mais ou menos. Herr Held labuta na área da música electrónica, com tempero acústico, de field recordings e de sons estranhos produzidos por não menos bizarros instrumentos, que depois levam uma passagem final com a varinha mágica do processamento electrónico. O resultado merece atenção.
Jazz e Arredores / 30 Nov 2007

El netlabel italiano Zymogen sigue con su particular goteo de referencias. Esta vez nos acercan a Porcelain in the Backpack, o lo que es lo mismo al alemán Marcus Held, un proyecto que en esta propuesta mezcla instrumentos, registros de campo, sonidos hiperprocesados, códigos aleatorios...conformando una particular visión de la música electrónica.
Animatek / 29 Nov 2007