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EX CANIX

Krautrock • Sweden


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Ex Canix biography
EX CANIX are an experimental music quartet from Sweden. They first got together in early 2015, although having a history of playing together in different constellations since the mid 1970s.

Their current music is trippy, spacey, hypnotic, percussive, though featuring a proper jazz vibe too. The 2018 debut album 'Primi' is excellently summarizing this. All tracks started out as improvisations and were recorded at Skylten, Linköping, between November 2015 and August 2016.

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EX CANIX top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.68 | 8 ratings
Primi
2018
4.00 | 4 ratings
Shaman
2019

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EX CANIX Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Shaman by EX CANIX album cover Studio Album, 2019
4.00 | 4 ratings

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Shaman
Ex Canix Krautrock

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars A modernized take on the music that CAN and NEU! and even POPUL VUH, ZAO, Franco Battiato, and AREA were experimenting with in the 1970s. Sounds as if BRIAN ENO were to have produced CAN back in the day.

1. "Juice" (4:14) rhythm-based psycho-babble/chant. A Top Three song for me. (9/10)

2. "Nights'n'Days" (4:48) bass, percussives, atmospherics, and heavily treated vocal ramblings. Throw a little DAVID SYLVIAN-JON HASSELL-sounds in there and what you have is awesome! Another Top Three song. (9.25/10)

3. "Meeting At CO" (4:57) drone like opening strums with hand drums and other percussives establish an odd-time base upon which vocal whisperings and moans enter and float around. Hypnotic STEVE JANSEN-like rhythms and HOLGER CZUKAY-like sounds! (8.75/10)

4. "When The World Breaks" (4:32) throw in a little Mississippi swamp slide guitar with some deranged-sounding vocals and you have a song! (8.25/10)

5. "Void?" (1:24) theatric scare tactics. (4.75/5)

6. "Tribunus Ultra [Hats Off To Figrin D'An]" (4:30) full on CAN with some more modern keys interspersed among the hand drums and drums. Very cool imitation! (8.75/10)

7. "Nebel" (4:32) more meditative like POPUL VUH or ENO-HASSELL collaborations. (8.25/10)

8. "Raga Muffin" (7:20) organ arpeggi open this one before bass and percussion make themselves prominent. Ultimately a pretty and very hypnotic if slightly long song. (12.5/15)

9. "Out Of The Can" (4:45) full on drums with congas, bass, and organ! A real song with a rock format! And it's awesome! Great swirling organ play, great jazzy bass lines, great drumming, and awesome "lead" from the synth and, later, the screaming electric guitar. My final Top Three song from this highly satisfying album. (9.5/10)

Total Time 41:02

4.5 stars; a near-masterpiece of 1970s-style Kosmische Musik and a very worthy addition to any prog lover's music collection.

 Primi by EX CANIX album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.68 | 8 ratings

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Primi
Ex Canix Krautrock

Review by patrickq
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The term 'ex canix' sounds Latin, and if we modify it slightly, to 'ex canis,' we get something like 'out of the dog' or 'from dog(s).' Makes sense, given the album cover of Ex Canix's Primi (which means 'first' in Italian). But the exact spelling 'canix' apparently does not correspond to any established Latin, Swedish, Italian, or English word. When 'canix' is used on the internet, it refers to an athletic pursuit involving running with dogs ('canicross') - - or to cannabis, which also seems fitting for a group that describes themselves as 'get[ing] together in their collective inner space community for travels across the dimensions of mind and sound.' Actually, that's a pretty good characterization of Primi. Ex Canix also claims that they 'travel from Stone Age to Outer Space and back as a community.' 'Stone Age' - - get it?

Anyway, my first experience with Ex Canix was listening to their 2019 album Shaman, which, in comparison to Primi, is much more focused. If both albums are intended to take the listener on a journey, it almost seems like Primi is the tour guides' first trip - - that the proverbial blind are leading the blind.

For example, on 'Feed the Monster,' the off-kilter drumming and percussion, combined with the the upbeat sax improvisation, is miles from the hypnotic mystery of Shaman's similarly rhythmic 'Raga Muffin.' And Primi's 'Out There' sounds experimental for the sake of experimentation. On the other hand, 'Slow for You' and 'Dreamland' are more successful at balancing experimentation and purpose, although this balance is improved further on Shaman.

Compared to Shaman, Primi is surprisingly jazzy in places - - on the opening passages of 'Feed the Monster' and 'Out There,' for example; and both 'Dreamland' and 'Minetta' have a jazzy feel throughout. These two are my favorites, along with the opening track, 'Can You Take Me to Tay Umago.' 'Can You Take Me' also answers the question as to why Ex Canix was initially classified as Krautrock on Prog Archives - - it's a freakout along the lines of early Tangerine Dream or Ash Ra Tempel.

The fairest rating for Primi is three stars, but as I'm sure you can tell, I suggest that listeners give Shaman a try first.

 Shaman by EX CANIX album cover Studio Album, 2019
4.00 | 4 ratings

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Shaman
Ex Canix Krautrock

Review by patrickq
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Shaman is a percussion-heavy trip which does a good job of evoking 1970s Krautrock via digital recording.

Between its inscrutable cover painting and its non-western stylings, Shaman is easy to regard as an otherworldly journey. A brief itinerary: things get a little odd after the semi-structured, rhythmic feel of the first three instrumentals ("Juice"→"Nights 'n' Days"→"Meeting at CO"). The fourth track, "When the World Breaks," is more songlike, with English lyrics atop a Sonic backdrop like something Beck would've come up with. The only vocal song on the album is followed by the first experimental cut, "Void." With the polyrhythmic and somewhat cryptic "Tribunus Ultra," the album returns to the style of the first three tracks; but the experimentalism resumes with the atmospheric, non-rhythmic, and perhaps microtonal "Nebel." The first half-minute of "Raga Muffin" leads nicely out of "Nebel," after which some light percussion enters and remains for much of the next seven hypnotic minutes. Shaman closes with "Out of the Can," which is a but more energetic and jazzy than the tracks which precede it, but is nonetheless laid-back for its first two minutes. After this a manic guitar fades in and solos, followed by some drumkit improv which continues alongside frantic synthesizers until it all ends with little warning.

Shaman is an enjoyable voyage. It's progressive without many of the hallmarks of progressive music: only one song exceeds five minutes (the 7:20 "Raga Muffin"); there is little pretentiousness or pomposity; and the playing is decidedly non-virtuosic.

I'd recommend this album to fans of contemporary "Krautrock" and, given that many of its passages are minimalist and/or atmospheric, to those interested in electronic-progressive or psychedelic music as well. Thanks to TCat for turning me on to this group!

 Shaman by EX CANIX album cover Studio Album, 2019
4.00 | 4 ratings

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Shaman
Ex Canix Krautrock

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

4 stars "Ex Canix" is a Krautrock band playing experimental music from Sweden. Even though the band has mostly been playing together for quite some time, this incarnation called Ex Canix was formed in 2015. Their 2nd album released in July of 2019, is called "Shaman" and it sees the band exploring rhythms and patterns, creating a psych and raga style of mostly improvisational music which gets formed off of rhythms and sounds. Most of their music is also based around opposites: light/dark, earth/space, tension//balance, and so on. "Shaman" is comprised of 9 tracks that span a run time of 41 minutes. The current line up consists of Tjabbe Arnsterus (percussion, hang drum), Boch (electronics, cello, guitar, voice, bass), Lars Hoffsten (drums, percussion) and Hans Bengten (bass). The album is available on vinyl or digitally.

"Juice" begins with the otherworldly sounds of dissonant guitars fading in, quickly replaced with percussion, hazy, wordless vocalizations and a layer of effects. Everything remains seemingly on the border of reality, nothing is in focus as sounds and instruments swirl around, lead mostly by tense guitar sounds. "Nights'n'Days" brings in a steadier rhythm. This is underlayed again by incoherent vocals starting in a very low register and then layered with another mid-range vocal line. Percussion drives the track forward at first for a while, and then synths and guitars come in with non-melodic improvisation. Psychedelic effects are spread throughout as the vocals and organ play dreamily along and the percussion keeps everything anchored. "Meeting at CO" has a much lighter and subtle percussion and a synth induced drone flows in and out like waves. Spooky vocals moan softly as it goes along and occasional chords are struck on the guitar. This track has a more ambient vibe to it and vague raga reflections that will soothe your head.

"When the World Breaks" begins with a more distinct rhythm tapped out on cymbals and then joined with hand drums. Guitars provide a heavier layer in this track and they are soon replaced with more hazy vocals, but with more discernable lyrics and melody this time. The guitar line that keeps appearing seems to reflect the riff from "When the Levee Breaks" in Led Zeppelin's cover, but it is altered quite a bit so that only the bare bones of it resembles the riff. The lyrics seem to come from that song also. It quite a nice alternative switch up for that classic tune. "Void?" is a short, atmospheric track with whispered vocals and various improvised percussive sounds and layered effects. "Triburius Ultra (Hats Off to Figrin D'An)" is quickly established by a distinct bass line and soft percussion. Soft, exploratory synth chords play in the background. The guitar plays a mesmerizing, yet psychedelic line generated from sustained chords and effects helped along by interesting synth sounds. Again, haziness and unclarity rules through the track making it easy to access the different layers that are whirling around.

"Nebel" begins with a raga drone style and hesitant tonal percussion that provides an occasionally appearing pattern with tempo and melodic variations. This one remains on the ambient side with no real apparent rhythm. Processed sounds and effects keep everything sounding mysterious. Very nice. "Raga Muffin" is the longest track on the album at over 7 minutes. A soft, repeating synth pattern anchors the track and soon, soft percussion bring in a moderately slow rhythm. Otherworldly guitar feedback give it all a spacey vibe as the heaviest sound in the track are cymbal crashes. It all floats along in a blissful, trance-like atmosphere. Past the half-way point, the rhythm stops and we are left with floating instruments, but it soon returns before it can wander off too far. High pitched wordless vocals are also in the mix, but sometimes hard to pick out until the end. "Out of the Can" quickly establishes a rhythm with a steady, rhythmic pattern. Guitars and synths provide meandering improvisations that build in intensity as it all continues. Again, there is not much to focus on at first, but the guitar becomes louder and heavier as it goes on. This drops off after a while, and it all continues with a chaotic sound that finally buries the steady rhythm.

This album is very well produced, yet quite effectively made to evoke that unfocused feel that generates a very trance-like sound. However, buried in the tracks are unique sounds and effects, patterns and music that make each track unique and variable. The overall feel is a psychedelic sound that is very experimental, and it does mash a lot of different styles together to create the spacey vibe that overrules everything else. It can be difficult to nail down exactly one style here, but the method of not focusing on any one sound lets you choose which line you want to follow in the layers of music. However, even in it's unfocused nature, which in the case of this album is an interesting benefit, this album is still very enjoyable and immersive, never really boring as most of the tracks stay around the 4 minute mark, so this creates an album that is not only effective for background or meditative music, but also has a high entertainment aspect so that it can also be heard just for the sake of listening. This is easily a 4 star album full of great spacey and psychedelic music and a lot of interesting experimental sections and still have space to add in some ambient tracks too. Very well done!

 Primi by EX CANIX album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.68 | 8 ratings

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Primi
Ex Canix Krautrock

Review by Rivertree
Special Collaborator PSIKE Team & Band Submissions

4 stars Back to Sweden again, enriched with nordic melancholy. This is something captivating, while percussive, hypnotic, trippy, chilled out. Should be filed under (neo) krautrock in the end. What else? Well, others may disagree, okay, maybe reasonable. Seriously, can't fully catch what is going on here, what a wonderful event anyhow! I would say the band FLOWERS MUST DIE is close to this stylistically, if any, in a wider sense. And indeed, they actually do share the drummer, Lars Hoffsten. First of all, the flow is irresistibly gripping on this occasion.

And overall EX CANIX prefer an obvious orientation towards jazz too. And so 'Primi' turns out to be an amalgamation of inspiration and magic. Cinematic somehow, much space for imagination will be provoked. Starting with Can You Take Me To Tay Umago this occasionally transmits me to a trip crossing the sahara riding on a camel somehow, acccompanied by quirky electronics and ethno/world inspired saxophone. Here and there the electric piano playing reminds of Dieter Miekautsch, once playing with Embryo, Real Ax Band, Missus Beastly, amongst others.

The short Out There shows some cheerful piano and percussion collaboration. Minetta then comes close to the proto kraut vibe once delivered by Staff Carpenborg And The Electric Corona in 1970. Maybe the longest excerpt Dreamland should be seen as the album highlight, a favourable statement due to lively electronics and percussion. In The Can - the title says it all - finally shows a tribal drum rhythm but also some weirdness which is more of a Xhol trademark. Very inspired, all tracks started out as improvisations. Fantastic production - 4,5 stars so far.

 Primi by EX CANIX album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.68 | 8 ratings

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Primi
Ex Canix Krautrock

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars This Swedish band began under the rather ghetto, even hip hop sounding name n Dogz but somewhere along the line since their formation in 2015 changed it to EX CANIX. While emerging from Linköping, Sweden and from the land where prog behemoths like Änglagård, Samla Mammas Manna, The Flower Kings and Anekdoten made their impressions in the prog world, EX CANIX found their inspiration not in the home grown symphonic sounds or even avant-prog but rather looked to their German neighbors in the Krautrock world of the 70s for their primary canvass to paint upon.

Krautrock was of course, the German movement that took British 60s psychedelic rock to even greater extremes but it should be remembered that Sweden was well ahead of the curve with bands like Pärson Sound capturing the same cosmic vibes as far back as 1967-68 long before Amon Duul II and Can were cranking out their own wild and tripped out sounds in Krautrock's heyday of 70-75. EX CANIX takes a lot from the playbook of this era by implementing familiar backbone rhythmic pulsations of Can, the detached spaced out grooves of Amon Duul II and even the jazzier aspects of Kraut emulating Embryo.

The opener "Can You Take Me To Tay Umago" flaunts the Can influences right off the bat. Not only with the clever reference to their famous "Tago Mago" as well as the band's name even included in the title but delivers a Can-esque percussive groove with the same sort of koschmische vibe on their trippiest releases. Add the rather aloof double electronics of Both and Håkke Müller to the mix which brings a rather early Tangerine Dream vibe along for the ride and it seems like a veritable classic German prog tribute right from the bat.

This continues with "Feed The Monster" which continues the freeform groove of bass, rather tribal percussive effects, guitar and electronics but adds special guest Shadow's sultry saxophone to the roster which brings an immediate classic Embryo vibe to the mix. Somewhat unique though is their extensive use of polyrhythms and counterpoints with the keys taking a firm independence streak by creating some off-kilter runs that find themselves in more an avant-prog or Rock In Opposition mood than gently flowing with the rest of the band.

"Slow For You" is a very ominous track as it begins with a spooky mellotron that simulate voices which brings more ethereal King Crimson to mind more than the aforementioned German influences. This one is slow and plodding. Dark and menacing with a dramatic slow doom filled percussive drive. Just add distorted guitar and perfect doom metal! There are also tinges of exotic musical scales lurking in the background. Very spaced out this one which never turns into rock at all but remains a rather airy journey through an electronic creation with a little percussive oomph.

"Out There" changes gears and enters jazz-fusion territory with very jazzy piano chords that quickly become more freeform and atonal while swarms of percussion begin to overtake it. I'm talking an irregular bombast of purposefully misdirected pummelation. It subsides and fades out. "Minetta" sounds like another jazz inspired Krautrock track from the Embryo camp whereas the lengthy ten and a half minute "Dreamland" takes the jazzy aspects of Embryo and marries it with oscillating electronica and tribal Can-like percussive drive. "In The Can," another Can reference, brings some xylophone sounds and jungle animal replications to the forefront with a steady bass groove and tropical island feel.

EX CANIX isn't just a retro prog album of youngsters worshipping their heroes but rather a collection of seasoned musicians who have been playing in different scenes since the 70s therefore a lot of what came from the golden era has carried on to the present. While EX CANIX doesn't really reinvent the wheel in many ways, they managed to create a nice supplemental fix of 70s psychedelia. This is totally instrumental so the cosmic journey throughout the sonic sphere is unimpeded by human linguistics. PRIMI shouldn't be considered cutting edge in any possible way, but it is a great album to simply get lost in and just let the music flow without expectations. Appreciation for the subtleties is what makes this worthy as the tiniest details are what animates this one.

3.5 but i'll round up for this one

Thanks to rivertree for the artist addition.

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