Tricky Woo Singer Survives Car Wreck to Release Krautrock Inspired Visual Album as Ex Ox

Tricky Woo Singer Survives Car Wreck to Release Krautrock Inspired Visual Album as Ex Ox

Photo: Amy Torok

Stream Ex Ox Nervous Complaint (June 12)

Ex Ox is the conduit. As Ex Ox, Canadian musician Andrew Dickson (Tricky Woo, Soft Canyon, Mongrels) presents his first solo effort, Nervous Complaint with an accompanying visual album. When a near-death experience forced him to contend with physical and existential questions, the answers for which there are no words, Dickson turned inward to his home studio in the woods of Quebec; inward to the workings of a brain inside of a galaxy. Informed by the taste of mud and blood, and the musical machining sounds he experienced inside an MRI, Dickson’s account of the car wreck that inspired his debut album (and art film) is both horrific and hilarious. Part “Planes Trains and Automobiles” and part “Evil Dead,” Dickson survived a freeway car wreck that saw him crawling from a sinking pick-up truck, holding a dislodged steering wheel, and ultimately making a police officer vomit at the sight of his injuries. Certainly a tale that should be told by an interview with this dynamic (and lucky to be alive!) Canadian artist. With determination and inspiration Dickson set out to capture some of the experiences he endured by encapsulating them in film and music that is reminiscent of the galactic soundscapes of early Krautrock artists and other synth-forward electronic pioneers.   

Purchase Ex Ox Nervous Complaint LP on Cassette

As the lead singer and guitarist of Tricky Woo, Andrew Dickson is the stuff of legend. His legacy includes a catalog of revered rock ‘n’ roll albums that have won critical acclaim worldwide. Yet this new chapter for Dickson is just as compelling as his previous works. Part of the reason Nervous Complaint feels like a crucial listen is that Ex Ox’s approach is so thoroughly his own, unique to the point that trying to attach it to one genre doesn’t really work. Think Eno’s Music for Airports meeting 70’s Harmonia with minimal glitch vibes of Berlin’s Oval and other early 2000s Mille Plateau artists. The album is an experimental musical journey where mellotron flutes twinkle their melodies above industrial noise. Synths, theremin, piano, guitars, percussion and orchestral arrangements find their way to meet with minimalist meditations. At times icy, serene, ambient, and at other moments explosive, expansive, and outer-worldly. The synths are gleaming and stratospheric, but also destructive and twisted. Conjuring a soundtrack for astral projection, Nervous Complaint is a sonic, psychedelic contemplation on consciousness, mortality, internal and external struggle, and how we seek our place in the universe. Divergent, transcendent: imprisoned in the flesh is a limitless imagination.