i find myself connecting with ricardo villalobos' arrangements. i don't necessarily love his tracks (many are quite boring), but the way he balances organic improvisation and subtle/minimal changes throughout the song is hard to do. i generally record the drum parts seperately from any synth work. when i record my synth parts i run them through a filter, and record in realtime. this way i have lots of tweaking. i then take 4-8 bar loops and repeat them a few times. the rest of the song fits around these happy accidents i get by my synth->filter recordings. it allows for improvisation and experimentation, which i then chop down into cohesive song parts.
my arrangements write themselves, and i prefer my tracks at 10+ minutes, so that the different elements of the track really get a chance to breathe and shine on their own. the most conservative elements i use is a simple 4/8/16/32 bar leadin at the beginning of the track, where i successively add percussive elements. then a very small buildup (such as lots of reverb or delay on a particular sound to create some "noise"). add synth in, add another synth, drop a drum channel out, drop a synth, add some more parts, etc. when you are comfortable recording and programming, the arrangements tend to write themselves : )