Priori Opens a Portal on 'This but More'

BY Spencer Nafekh-BlanchettePublished Jun 3, 2024


For Francis Latreille — the Montreal producer and one-man-act behind Priori — sound has always served as a portal to new realities. His 2019 debut On a Nimbus involved the convergence of drum & bass, dub techno and tech house; two years later, Latreille pulled from old-school trance elements to produce Your Own Power, a meditative follow-up album infused with slower tempos and meandering melodies. Now more than ever, Priori is harnessing the boundless power of partnership on his latest album This but More, a richly textured collection of 13 ambient and trance tracks which Latreille deems "the biggest collaborative project I have tackled so far."

That sense of collaboration is clear on This but More, with some of the album's biggest standouts being the songs including features. On "Moonstone," Latreille collaborates with Brooklyn ambient producer Ben Boldy to create a nebulous and liminal experience: reverb-heavy vocals flow in and out of the song's up-tempo trance rhythm, making themselves present — but barely discernible — at one moment and disappearing in the next like whispers in the wind. "Basalt Tones" is another clear standout, and sees Latreille working alongside fellow Montrealer Jesse Osborne-Lanthier in a composition that combines hand drums with industrial noise to produce equally archaic and dystopian results.

As an album, This but More finds its strength in thematic cohesion. While tracks vary from sounding light and ethereal to dark and foreboding, the sounds blend together despite their sonic distinctions to open up a portal into a fantasy world — somewhere that feels simultaneously far away in the future and deep behind in a past left forgotten. But while the meditations on This but More have their ebbs and flows mood-wise, the world Priori has created here rarely feels dreadful. It is for this reason that the track "Grimoire" feels like an outcast in an otherwise-succinct auditory journey: Its lack of rhythm and slow, sinister droning feels like the dark depths of a world removed from Priori's vision when compared to the rest of the album.

Still, it comes as no surprise that Latreille lists science fiction and fantasy authors like Ursula K. LeGuin and Gene Wolfe as his sources of inspiration on This but More. Through its upbeat, high-tempo moments and its slower and more ominous ones, This but More is as much an achievement in worldbuilding as it is in sound design.

(naff recordings)

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