One of the first writings I did for Lost At Sea was a feature about Michigan indie electronic/glitch group Midwest Product. The Ann Arbor outfit’s notability developed out of two underappreciated full lengths, 2002’s Specifics and 2003’s World Series Of Love (both released by Ghostly International), and the potential for further unique sounds with a reportedly forthcoming release The Approximations or Approximations. Well, the third album never came, and potential slowly began to wane.
Fast forward to 2006 and patient fans got a two-for-one via Ghostly International’s new 5-song EP Digital release project. The first in the series, which graces listeners with stopover material between full-length albums, is a collection from Midwest Product that includes a barebones remix of World Series Of Love, standout cut “Swamp,” and four new tracks. The other half of the good news is that another EP in the series – this one entitled Touched Pilot – is the side project of Midwest Product’s frontman Ben Mullins, performing under the moniker PostPrior.
Tight electronic production is still at the core of greater appeal for both releases. The formula that made Midwest Product’s first two releases excellent remains key with Swamp: live instrumentation in bass, guitar, and drums; glitchy production cuts; electronic instrumentation in synths, keyboards, and drum programming; and an overall moving, danceable and melodically infectious texture.
The best examples of the group’s potency are present within Swamp’s two center pieces, the rhythmically kinetic electronic pop tracks “Cold Sore” and “Ohfas”. “Cold Sore” sounds like the body for an avant garde friendly, blue-eyed soul performer to croon over, and “Ohfas” is more dark and adventurous in its melodic undertaking but halting in its end-of-the-beat percussive jabs. The other two cuts are “Mumbler” and “Easter Surrender,” both of which expand the EP’s scope into textures of experimenting and restrain without losing the identifiable Midwest Product signature sound.
If this EP is the precursor to a future release, let’s just hope that the full length hits the mark as well as Swamp but doesn’t have us waiting three years to enjoy it.