G Jones has emerged from the lab with an exhilarating sonic evolution on Paths that pushes his sound to the edge.
The remarkable 2018 full-length debut from G Jones, The Ineffable Truth, turned industry heads round and round like a turntable with its pristine production and complex compositions. Ever since, the boundary-pushing artist has continued to challenge the status quo of electronic music with dazzling EPs, crazy collaborations, and innovative live shows, such as his Allegory of the Rave — a two-night run that took place at The Caverns six months ago. Last year, the most explosive of G Jones’ blossoming career, saw the release of Acid Disk 2 alongside Eprom, which garnered plenty of critical buzz, and Illusory Tracks, which bamboozles your grip on the genre.
Now, G Jones’ rebellion against convention marches on with Paths—an eleven-track expedition that treks through a wild cacophony of influences with crystal-clear focus. The album is uncompromising in its quest to explore various emotions, soundscapes, and techniques. Nonetheless, Paths is unified by an underlying black-and-white aesthetic that G Jones has meticulously crafted as his core identity, as evident in his live show’s mind-melting visuals.
The renowned industrial sound design that forms the backbone of his signature flair finds a new equilibrium throughout Paths, as G Jones infuses tracks with subtle vibrancy. As a result, Paths expands upon the flavors offered by Illusory Tracks by confidently meandering in ways that inject each song with more introspective depth and more potent payoffs.
Paths unfolds with integrity, but this cohesiveness is very delicate, as each track extrudes a vastly distinctive demeanor. The tightrope walk of tension from track to track balances style and energy masterfully, imbuing the overall journey with a sense of organic complexity. This macro-sonic quality is then repeated on a micro-scale whenever G Jones wanders into a rabbit hole and dwells on a melodic or rhythmic idea that briefly seizes a song. In a realm all his own, G Jones reaches for the unknown and unlocks a richness of vibratory variety that few others dare to delve into.
Stream G Jones – Paths on Spotify:
G Jones entwines a multitude of influences through electronic currents of innovation to arrive at Paths.
Our introduction to Paths is the blissful “Familiar Frontiers,” which sets an ethereal tone with its bright, twirling pads and simple yet scrumptious sinusoidal section. The interplay between these two elements escalates unexpectedly towards the end, foreshadowing the impending auditory juxtapositions that animate the rest of the album. “Too Far Gone” builds on the uplifting mood with joyous melodies and bubbly inflections while also pushing the envelope with rowdy, uptempo rhythms. The most colorful cut on Paths, this track integrates the retro rave tendencies of G Jones’ past with his recent maturation beyond a reliance on genre. This artistic growth breathes an air of novelty and freshness across Paths that mixes with the sweet smell of nostalgia in very precise and methodical manners.
Nowhere in the tracklist is this maturity more apparent than with “Which Way“—a wondrous whirlwind of pure hype that pits classic breakbeat leakage glitched to the max against irresistibly catchy sound design. While the song’s flow keeps you guessing, these intangible hooks slam into being from the abyss and bring fond memories of past musical lives. One particularly tropical motif absolutely drives me wild, stirring an ineffable feeling of reminiscence for some long-lost emotional chasm in my mind. Whenever one solitary sound is gifted so much power in a mix, it is an unmistakable sign of a true maestro.
Next up on deck, “Glowing Experiences” schmears your perception with twisted synth strains in an ode to the saying, “Time flies when you’re having fun.” The voluptuous scratches and airy squelches coalesce in a unique aesthetic palette that decompresses the dynamic vigor that otherwise would have spilled out from “Which Way.” Riding this more relaxed wave, we gently enter the world of “Perpetual Bloom” and are siphoned up the xylem of a towering plant to fuel its impossibly beautiful blossom. Contemplative and tranquil, this tune drifts like a calm autumn breeze and whimsically delivers us to the midpoint of Paths.
Composed of two divergent layers of sound—one black-and-white underneath and one vibrant on top—”Liminality” does its name justice by expressing an actual liminal space where the two layers interact. The pounding pulse provides the most violently vivacious moments on Paths, especially when the beat deconstructs into oblivion. By contorting the celestial vibes that bleed into its intro and transforming them into a ferocious beast of experimental witchcraft, this track ushers in a second half to the album that complements the first and yet challenges it with a mutated balance between light and melancholy.
Paths is a roller coaster ride of style, texture, and tempo that refuses to leave the G Jones pocket.
“Maybe” untethers a scattery drum foundation, pouring acid influences into a mainstream EDM mold. However, the ingredients are too spicy for the recipe, causing the melody to malfunction magnificently. Subsequently, we are treated to a gleaming piano passage jazzed up with just a hint of longing—”In My Room.” Interrupted with a glitch in the matrix halfway through that mirrors “Maybe” and simultaneously prophesizes the next track, “In My Room,” acts as a clever interlude. Emerging on the other side, “Dancing On The Edge” plays like an alien’s all-in-one brain scanner, with sharp neuro-scapulas that burrow into the folds of your cerebral and pierce the doors of perception.
Signifying the home stretch of Paths, “Remnant” soars high in the sky with shimmering synth sails. The upper registers shine with a rainbow-infused sparkle that reminds me of a creaky swing set, while its lower registers clamor with the spirited hustle and bustle of a busy playground. Finally, “Long Walk Home” brings narrative closure to the feminine vocal samples that have strung together our abstract auditory adventure. Here, the sublime samples awaken the imagination before G Jones drops us into a jubilant vortex of hypnotizing, ghostly timbres. This upbeat conclusion to Paths brings the album full circle, triumphantly returning to the heartfelt emotional resonance of the first track.
With Paths, G Jones shoots for the stars and hits his mark, delivering an experimental bass album that defies genre and description.
Blending vision with talent, Paths successfully navigates the demanding sonic terrain that G Jones sets out to conquer. Songs like “Familiar Frontiers” and “Perpetual Bloom” anchor the album with a gorgeous emotional nucleus. Meanwhile, “Which Way” and “Liminality” find G Jones liberated from the constraints of contemporary electronic production, using these very constraints to inform his idiosyncratic aesthetic.
Paths excels at its extremes, and the trails blazed in between these highs and lows are still compelling and intriguing. Bursting at its seams, this marvelous addition to the G Jones catalog was created with sound systems and live shows in mind. The songs leap out of the speakers, and even at full volume, one can sense that they have more layers to reveal. This very urge to unveil the hidden depths of Paths is magnetizing me towards Red Rocks to catch the Paths LIVE Tour, an effect that speaks to the essence of the G Jones swagger.
G Jones – Paths – Tracklist:
- Familiar Frontiers
- Too Far Gone
- Which Way
- Glowing Experiences
- Perpetual Bloom
- In My Room
- Dancing On The Edge
- Long Walk Home