Folktronica, electrofolk, folk with a laptop hook and a Yamaha twist; when forced into a corner Magic Arm’s sound can be perfunctorily described with only a languid whisker separating the descriptive ordering from the synonymic wordplay. Electrofolkonica proves that creative prose doesn’t work either and none of the above do justice to the brilliance behind the debut album ‘Make Lists Do Something’.
Like many of his generation, Marc Rigelsford explores the art of audio synthesis, fuses it with an innate lyrical understanding and roams free, firing the end result at will from all angles, but only after a spell of multi-instrumental intrigue is cast and an all consuming false sense of ‘folktronic’ security created.
Embarking on an increasingly popular journey of bedroom crafted discovery, the DIY troubadour marks his route through ‘Widths And Heights’ and ‘Bootsy Bootsy’ by peppering a structured format with unimposing electronic fixtures and detailing. But just like that canine Christmas present and as with most things nearly new, the novelty can soon wear off; thankfully the stunning acoustic guitar and synthesised subtleties of ‘Outdoor Games’ is more than reaffirming enough to dispel any thoughts of burlap sacks and deserted waterways.
Quarry snared and favouring discreet slight of hand to a mail order one size fits all box of musical tricks, Magic Arm reveals himself as more than just another street artist intent on cutting a button pushing swathe through a pick and mix of genres. Once quoted as saying “I would do covers all the time if I was allowed”, LCD Soundsystem’s ‘Daft Punk Is Playing At My House’ alongside a respectful interpretation of American bluesman Leroy Carr’s 1935 original ‘Six Cold Feet Of Ground’ holds Rigelsford to his word, reworking both, fallible by purist proxy alone, to fit his signature sound.
Although resplendent in the sunshine ‘Make Lists Do Something’ is as comfortable exposing the shadowy twists and shady turns of ‘Getting The Way’ and ‘Slates On A Roof’ as it is when delighting in the glorious harmonic layering of ‘Rested Bones’, ‘People Need Order’ and ‘Sound Of The Night’.
An album built on the foundations of unspoken trust, undisclosed inventiveness and instinctive fragility, ‘Make Lists Do Something’ is one that requires and inspires an unconditional love of sorts that in turn unconditionally rewards with the instant desire to listen again and again.