Tonight / Interview
Low-Fidelity All-Star: The Wild, Subterranean Noises of Matthew Ford
by Dave Segal
on Fri, Nov 16, 2012 at 9:38 AM
Incense burns, red wine flows, and the eldritch prog-folk sounds of Catherine Ribeiro + Alpes' Paix fills the house. Matthew Ford, 38-year-old drummer for several great Seattle rock bands and the mastermind behind the fascinating and enigmatic Yves/Son/Ace solo project, is ready for his first goddamn interview. There's so much catching up to do.
Ford has been the ramrod-straight backbone of Seattle's sub-underground-rock scene for 15 years. On top of his Yves/Son/Ace excursions, he's contributed spectacularly unslick rhythmic ballast to Pyramids, the Intelligence, Factums, Love Tan, Evening Meetings, and Dreamsalon. The reason you probably don't know about him is because he keeps his profile like he manages his sonic fidelity: low. Humble almost to a fault, Ford—a fine-arts painter who paints houses for a living—seemingly would rather geek out over his excellent record collection than talk about himself. (His Ballard abode is packed with collectible LPs and tapes, including a large stash of Ocora and Folkways recordings.) Having shared a couple of DJ bills with the man, I can vouch for Ford's deep, vast knowledge of obscure, strange music.
Ford's immersion in music's weirder realms tints his own creations, but not blatantly. In his group configurations, he smudges the templates of the scrappy, quirkily catchy rock of the Fall, Swell Maps, and the Godz; evokes the subliminal menace of Suicide; and emulates the no-frills, efficacious drumming of the Velvet Underground's Moe Tucker. The alienated angularity of no wave and the off-kilter, ramshackle structures of post punk also bleed into Ford's groups' sound. There's just enough "normality" in the melodic contours and beats to snag your ear, but the analog granularity and hypnagogic haze in which they're recorded cast the songs into a garage-rock twilight zone.