Track By Track: Archangel – The Bedroom Slant


Steven Ford has carved out something pretty special. A sound that often strays into something alien whilst remaining unconventionally engaged with the rudiments of techno. There’s a complex lustre to his productions, with an assemblage of sounds which arrythmically jostle but unexpectedly form a melodic balance, despite the contention of elements. Alongside the strange, wayward harmony of the music sidles bent vocals often in the midst of a haze-gripped torpor. It all makes for a crooked kind of appeal. 

You’d be hard pressed to find another producer in similar spheres that constructs and injects their work with such mutability in mind, let alone pulling it off with aplomb. On the first Archangel LP, Ford has stayed true to these qualities whilst involving collaborators from other walks (micro-house, jazz) and sharpening his voice into a greater lucidity. Previously classified as ‘ersatz pop’ (in these here pages) Ford has ruffled the work with more abstraction and refined the initial fruits of the project since first airing them on a Louche Podcast back in 2012. 

Here he gives us a track-by-track guide to The Bedroom Slant, revealing how channeling Bryan Ferry, the compulsion to make a no-wave love song, and working with Peter Gordon were pivotal to how it all turned out – for the record its one of my favorites of the year so far…

Half Man Half Lisa

I think this was probably the most difficult track that I have ever made. Not in terms of music, but in terms of finding the right arrangement. It was originally written as part of the Louche Podcast I did as Archangel. In the context of a podcast, it worked out as a sort of transitional piece. It was really a matter of taking the vocals out and adding a few things here and there. As a stand alone track however, it took some tinkering. I think I have 10 versions of it. At one point, Sergio (from Benoit & Sergio) and I were gonna work on it together. He liked it, but also agreed that the arrangement didn't really live up to it's potential. We never really got around to working on it together as he went off to the States and Benjamin from Foom and I started going forward with the album. I think for the most part the end product worked. I still keep hearing different versions of it though. Peter Gordon is remixing it, so maybe he'll find the magic potion.

To Be Seen

This was the first track that I sent Foom for the album. I was really trying to keep the darkness that from the Louche podcast. It's sort of cut from the same cloth as those tracks. With this one though, I really wanted the vocals to do most of the work, with the bells and bending sounds as the back drop to this very ridiculous idea of being a teenager. A kid wanting to be noticed by his peers.


When I began this track I felt like it was going to be a more ambient-styled track. I remember going through some of my folders and just stumbling across this vocal track from an old, unused song and placing it in this one, just to see if I could use a piece here or a piece there. Suddenly I realised that the entire vocal take worked perfectly, even in key. I had been struggling a bit with the arrangement and I remember after adding it that the song was almost immediately complete.

Come Undone

I had the middle pad for this track laying around for quite a while. It's a pad that I loved, but never really thought would work in anything that I would finish. As a stand alone element, it seemed a bit too sentimental for me. The lyrics ended up being a pretty dark affair, and as I slowly cobbled the track together it became almost too dark. The pad really worked to make the track come out of its darker side, leaving a little more light in.

You In Sin

I think the was my most obvious salute to Roxy Music. I wanted to have that really percussive Bryan Ferry feel to it, with a real touch of pop. I knew I wanted a straight up pop track on the album. I love those really analog sounding horn stabs and weepy sounds from the '80s. After I had found those two patches the track just sort of came out of nowhere. I think this is the track on the album that was the least amount of work. Almost like Bryan Ferry was guiding me.

L.A. Teen (Live)

I had been wanting to work with my friend Yonatan Levi for a while. Working on this album, I wasn't sure where I could congruously place him, due to his jazz background. In hindsight, I now know that he's amazing at any style. At any rate, I started this one with him in mind. I really wanted to keep my parts to a minimum, I wanted a couple of pads, but most importantly I wanted his bass to do the talking in this one. I sent him the rough draft of the track and after a couple of weeks he sent me back a recording he'd done in a studio in San Francisco. Needless to say, they were amazing takes. After I placed them in the track, I realized that it need something more. At around the same time, my friend David Powers sent me a track he'd done, and it was just amazing. He's an incredible piano player and composer, so I asked if he wanted to be involved. He sent me some fantastic piano takes. It really was the perfect addition.

Momentum Of The Farce

This one, like Half Man Half Lisa, originally appeared on the Louche podcast, and later on my first single for Foom, but as a different, live version. I wrote the bass line for this one first. It sort of had this Blonde Redhead feeling to it (in my mind). Then came the vocals. At first I thought it might be nice to just have the two as a middle part in the podcast, a sort of breakdown to ease the tension that was building. But in the end the bass just worked so nicely with a big kick under it (as usual). The little squirmy synths part sort came as an after thought, something to tie the next part of the podcast together. Taking it out the context was another big problem for me. It's always difficult to pull something out of its environment and reclassify it, because in the end it has to ultimately work with the flow of the album. After a few attempts, myself and Benjamin at Foom nailed the arrangement, which was no easy feat.

The Future Kiss

Going into this album I knew that I had to create my own interpretation of a no-wave track. When I first began, I thought it was just going to be a sort of bass and drum thing – I really wanted to do something that was very rough and rocking. I just sort of free-styled the vocals over the drums in the studio. I wanted it to be dirty. I was listening to a lot of Jonathan Fire*Eater at the time. I wanted it to have that Stuart Lupton panache. I wanted to make a love song. This is probably my best effort to date.

Steal The Groom featuring Peter Gordon & Caro

I love working with Randy Jones a.k.a Caro, he's just been such an inspiration to me through out the years, and he makes some of the best music around. With all of my albums there's always a track where I coax Randy into working with me. It's almost a tradition now. I originally sent this one over to Randy so he could advise me on how to pull off the vocals. He responded that I should let Neil Young be my spirit horse. I tried a few more takes and pretty much gave up. At the same time, I had been speaking to Benjamin at Foom about getting Peter Gordon on a track (which was a dream come true) as they were working on getting his new album, Symphony 5, ready. Benjamin asked Peter and Peter agreed. So I sent him the rough draft and he sent me back some phenomenal saxophone takes. At that point I had all of this material but still no vocals. So I sent Randy the rough draft again and just asked him to sing over what I had laid down. Of course, it was amazing. The next part was making all of the elements work together. The original version was this very, very abstract take on the rough draft. I put Peter's saxophone stuff through some very odd effects. I finished the arrangement but in the end the track was really too abstract and it really didn't allow for Peter's magic to come through. Although Peter was fine with it, I felt that I was doing his amazing sax playing a disservice, so I went back to the drawing board. I really wanted to capture that Peter Gordon sound, but I just couldn't make it fit in the context of the rough draft. So after working a bit here and there, adding some rhodes piano and just cleaning up the mess from all the effects etc, it just sort of came together. Sometime I have too many ideas in a track and it's really nice to just start removing things. That's what happened here. I just let Randy and Peter make the track. And they really did. I owe them a lot for this one.

High Alarm

I owe the existence of this track on the album to Benjamin's girlfriend, Úna. I sent this track over at about the halfway stage to see what Benjamin thought of it. I had been working on it for quite a while and was suffering from some serious tired ear. I wasn't totally sure it was working but needed a little reassurance. It seemed nice, but as I said, I had been working a lot and wasn't totally sold on it. So I sent it over. I remember Benjamin's response was sort of luke warm. Keep in mind it was at the half way mark. So I sat on it. A few days later he wrote me back that Úna had listened and really liked it and said that I should move forward. It was the exact impetus i needed to continue. So I did. 

Tim Wilson

'The Bedroom Slant' is out now, grab your copy here.