Marc Rigelsford is a one-man, singularly-armed, music-making maestro.
Raised in Brighton, he is something of a folk bard, washing a pine-scented rural quality over modern electronics as if his songs were penned on the bark of a tree trunk before being forced through a computer. abrasive, harmonic or downright groovy, it’s anything but subtle for mister magic arm.
Adopting the introspective quality of Atlas Sound’s Bradford Cox, and lending it to the dreamy, organ-dipped electronica of The Beta Band, this one man band’s complex arrangements could easily have been assembled by a whole crack team of tech whiz kids. An expert composer he may seem, but Marc only stumbled into serious music-making after helping a friend with a video project. “i did a couple of soundtracks for a film called 'Dog Ears', which was the first real outing for Magic Arm. The idea of a sound-track fits in perfectly with what I do.”
Starting with a base melody, before piling layer upon layer of analogue synths, looping organs and keyboards, Marc contrives to find a perfect mix to soundtrack a particular subject matter or emotion. One song, he says, was tinkered with for a full five years before he was finally happy with it. For the most part though, Magic Arm’s music evolves naturally. “Most stuff I’ve written has come from moments when i’ve not been trying to write anything,” he says. To give his music his own auteur stamp, Marc writes and records in the most private sphere possible - his own bedroom.
Locked away within his own introspective bubble, Magic Arm writes music in touch with his most intimate feelings. “Writing in my bedroom involves the raw emotion of what you’re feeling at the time you come to write something. When you’re feeling a certain way it’s got to be the best place to write.” Unsurprisingly given the erratic tendencies of Magic Arm’s music, Marc draws inspiration from a rainbow of artists past and present, from seminal folkster Leonard Cohen to pop princess Gwen Stefani. The latter is a part of Marc’s quest to nurture a pure pop style. “I’m trying to write pop, but it never quite turns out that way.” Magic Arm’s debut EP, ‘Widths and Heights’, released in July, showcased Marc’s talent for idiosyncratic pop writing. Scattered with Metronomy-esque organ sighs, crisp acoustic guitar and lullaby vocals, the delicate five-tracker showed all the promise of a songwriting magician in the making.
Magic Arm’s latest EP, though, positively reeks of confidence. Reflecting Marc’s itchy feet, ‘Bootsy Bootsy’ shifts from the airy electronics of its predecessor to grasp dance rhythms in its stride. The epitome of this is a twisted reworking of LCD Soundsystem’s ‘Daft Punk is Playing in my House’. and, if daring to pick apart this particular dance-floor blockbuster wasn’t enough, Marc actually goes and pulls it off too. It’s surely only a matter of time before the Brighton boy conjures his own name-making hit from that magic sleeve of his.