On October 15th, G Jones debuted the live show for his new album Paths at Red Rocks Amphitheatre. This event was part of a greater G Jones weekender in Denver, following his pre-party DJ set at The Ogden Theatre.
While the pre-party was a time for G Jones to flex his knowledge of dance music’s deepest cuts, the Red Rocks show was a more intimate affair. It served as a heartfelt presentation of his new work (over five years in the making) and a journey through the decades of music history that led up to this moment.
For the live premiere of Paths, G Jones curated a lineup with a strong focus on dance music history. It featured legacy acts in EDM who each made significant contributions to the genres that inspired G Jones’ work. That didn’t mean the show excluded up-and-coming producers or his contemporary collaborators, however.
Opening the night was Curra, a newcomer to the scene who has only been releasing music since 2021. She eased the crowd into the genre-spanning event as her set ranged from heavy-hitting dubstep tracks to chilled-out, atmospheric jungle.
Later in the evening, G Jones’ closest collaborator took the stage: fellow West Coast DJ EPROM. Flanked by his son Soren, EPROM graced a stage in the center of the amphitheater to present a 360 Vault set. Unsurprisingly, his vault is full of the darkest cuts in bass music. Among them is Ivy Lab’s “Profit” — as well as unexpected tracks like 100 gecs’ “Dumbest Girl Alive.”
While this set was more upbeat than EPROM’s usual halftime fare, he still indulged in fan favorites like “Dangerous Sound” and tracks from SHADES, his occult-themed side project with Alix Perez.
A Dance Music History Lesson
Outside of Curra and EPROM, the rest of the lineup consisted of artists who cemented their legacies in the ’90s and aughts. One such example was British producer Luke Vibert.
Around the turn of the 21st century, Vibert pioneered early experimentation with the amen break. At Red Rocks, he flexed his skill with breaks alongside the sounds of the Roland TB-303 (the synthesizer that birthed acid house). He mixed in tracks from other IDM greats like Squarepusher while trippy visuals unfolded on screen. It’s hard to imagine a world with the music of G Jones or EPROM if those like Vibert had not come first.
Later in the evening, the history lesson turned to the 2000s in the U.K., where the groundwork for the dubstep genre was laid by the likes of Benga, Kode9, Skream, and of course, Digital Mystikz. This duo consists of Mala and Coki, two DJs who are each legends in their own right. At Red Rocks, Digital Mystikz flexed ancient dubs like the infinitely sampled “Changes” by Mala. Despite solidifying their legacy well over a decade ago, the duo didn’t stray away from the genre’s latest hits like Skrillex’s “Rumble” or Subtronics’ “Flute Dub.” It was a perfect way to trace dubstep’s route from the early 2000s to today.
Passing the Torch
Finally, Brazilian artist Amon Tobin played as direct support under his alias, Two Fingers. Tobin, like the others, is a staple in electronic music. He boasts celebrated releases dating back to the mid-’90s, when he signed to Ninja Tune. Tobin’s set came out of the gate soaring at high tempos, skillfully mixing neuro DNB, jungle and more.
This Two Fingers set was particularly special because Tobin recently announced it would be his last performance under this alias. On Facebook, Tobin called this show “a great place to wrap things up for TF ‘the DJ’ while ushering in a new generation of talent and creativity.” This set was high energy and unrestrained, leaving everything on the dance floor for his last performance as Two Fingers. With his closing notes, Tobin passed the torch to the younger generation to which G Jones belongs.
G Jones’ Sophomore Album
On October 13th, just two days before the first live show, G Jones (short for Greg Jones) released his sophomore album, Paths. The effort marks a slight departure from Jones’ 2018 debut album, The Ineffable Truth. It takes him further away from his dubstep and trap roots. Here, he leans toward something softer and more emotional, yet still bravely experimental.
The themes of the new album manifest through vocal samples, peppered sparsely throughout the tracks. Paths explores maladaptive daydreaming, solitary moments in one’s room, aimless wandering, and memory. Such introspective themes raised the question of how G Jones would bring these abstract ideas to life for a live audience.
To bring Paths to life, Jones decided to leave behind the keyholes and masks of The Ineffable Truth. With the help of designer Shin Fujita, he reimagined his visual iconography, keeping only his signature black and white.
At Red Rocks, the graphic eyes from the Paths cover art ushered in a new era for G Jones. He stayed true to the album, opening with its first two tracks: “Familiar Frontiers” and “Too Far Gone.” The main visual effect was an intricately designed grid, filled with black-and-white patterns that twisted and distorted to the music.
The most notable aspect of the Paths show was the amount of time that Jones spent crafting emotional textures, especially in the album’s slower songs. The show took a journey from the solitary piano refrains of “In My Room” to the triumphant and optimistic melodies of “Maybe.” These emotional moments were paired with pixelated images of waterfalls and hiking trails. Due to Jones’ decision to use only white or black pixels on the screen, the images intentionally lacked shading and definition, giving the feeling they were corrupted or fuzzy like a memory.
As Jones revved up the energy, one highlight was the funky single “Which Way.” It was set to cheeky visuals: gloved hands that clapped on beat then flipped a light switch to turn the whole venue dark. The show reached an energetic high point when EPROM came on stage to play VIPs of their songs “R.A.V.E.” and “Operator.” The crowd rightly erupted into a dance party, which led into the most intense section of the show when Jones played his breakout hit, “In Your Head.”
Long Walk Home
When it was time for Jones to close out his world premiere, he played a touching mashup of “Long Walk Home” from Paths and “Time” from The Ineffable Truth. Jones apparently planned this closing moment in the back of his mind for at least the past five years. The 2018 cover art for “Time” reads the words “Long Walk Home” in G Jones’ conlang. He ended the night with the sentiment that closes out Paths (a sample sourced from the 1972 horror movie, Silent Night, Bloody Night):
“One last time, I have to see this ground. It’s beautiful now. Soon, they will tear down the main house, and then nothing will be left. Nothing. Except what I remember.”
Ending on this note, it’s clear that the importance of memory is a key idea in G Jones’ new work. His curation at the Paths live show recalled key moments in dance music’s past, like the birth of dubstep through Digital Mystikz or the legacy of the amen break through Luke Vibert. These traces of the past then appear in new contexts as Jones experiments with them on his own terms.
Paths live not only celebrates the history of dance music but also further secures G Jones’ place within it. Here, he presented himself as an artist ready to tell the history of the genre while reinvigorating those classics sounds to imagine a new future.
Find Artist On: