Experimental acid jazz


ESW, DJ Spread

Big Car Gallery

Friday, Jan. 5, 9 p.m.

Josh Silbert and Adam White are contortionists in the world of music.

Before becoming the frontmen of ESW, an experimental trio with a revolving third man, they ran the gamut of local bands only to find each other. From Silbert’s bachelor’s degree in music to his membership in legendary Indiana ska band Johnny Socko to White’s recording projects with bands like Wonderdrug, the duo have combined musical talents to create a wondrous, warped sound.

“We were almost ‘the mutual admiration society,’” Silbert says. It’s through an alliance between many of Indy’s local bands that the musicians met and collaborated. They would later become ESW’s sole composers.

“Josh and I really hit it off musically,” White says. The mesh led to ESW’s self-titled debut album. “We went into the studio with the intent to make a better demo.” However, an explosion of ideas turned a small demo into a 10-track CD. Silbert’s dream-like saxophone and White’s jazzy drums combine with Nathan Fox’s fretless bass beats. While Fox currently tours with ESW, you might catch any of five guest musicians at one of their live shows.

“We have just as much fun with titles as we do with samples,” Silbert says. “We crack each other up.” One such example is “Let the Cough Syrup Do the Talking” — one minute and 31 seconds of drugged instrumentals and distorted voices. ESW is a collage of weird seduction and synthesized mayhem. Elements of reggae, disco and even some drum and bass all rear in protest of musical linearity.

ESW will perform a series of Indianapolis shows, including at the Big Car Gallery this Friday. Here, Latina artist Sarah Zeta Zuckerman will show her solo art collection, Carteles, and T.J. Reynolds will feature a spoken word performance along with video projections by Big Car’s executive director, Jim Walker, who has done several video projects for ESW.

“It’s a happy coincidence,” White says. “If we did Jim Walker events for the rest or our lives, I’d be happy.”

But ESW is on a road that will take them farther than the local art gallery.

“We’re prepared for anything,” Silbert says. “The talent here is immense. We’ve just got to find the people who want a band with no lead singer and don’t care how marketable it is.”