Encounters With A Yeti is a thrill to watch live. What they lack in stage theatrics and charisma, they make up for a stirring performance that bears vividly impressionistic experience to its audience. When news broke out that they’ll be releasing their debut album this year, I felt happy and excited for the band, but worried that they might not translate the abstract energy and whimsical quality of their live set on a recording.
I’m glad they took the risk. Pilot, their first record under Terno Recordings is anything but boundless and magical, an album constructed around a cinematic canvass that’s thoroughly unique even without words to paint them. At its best, Pilot throws some of the most beautiful post-rock moments I’ve heard in recent memory, sticking to lengthy instrumental compositions that wander into untapped realms and territories. With just a basic set-up—multiple guitars, drums, keyboards, and a bit of bass—they were able to create a singular sound that adjusts to emotional ambiguity. What might resonate as triumphant to some might be dark and overwhelming to others.
First track “Alloy Brings The Future Closer” is a delightful kicker to introduce the mood of the entire album. It surrounds itself with variations that rise and fall at all the right moments, with a notable crescendo swinging to majestic swirl in its last few laps. “Feathers of Knives” features the same chiming guitar lines that permeate their work, and like the songs of Explosions In The Sky, they let it flow in a carefully calculated pace before launching into a mid-section climax that zooms to a tipping point. “Tube Explodroid” follows the similar structure of the first two songs, incorporating bristlier tones in their soft, tender soundscapes. More than replicating the vibe of the record, this song actually pays homage to modern rock by way of heavy riffs, crashing cymbals and dynamic solos, all with the intent of keeping the listeners entertained and enthralled to their instrumental patches.
From there, Pilot tries to experiment a bit, bringing a spectacular display of instrumental jams in varied forms and shapes. “We Talk In Circles” employs a thorough mastery of dynamics. It interplays from ambient cut-offs to lulling pauses, almost resembling a merry-go round tune for the wicked. Just as you were about to condition yourself in this kind of setup, a small sonic explosion erupts—a guitar solo takes over the barren space and delivers a story of its own. It’s one of the highlights in the album, one that actually conjures authentic emotions in beautifully blissed-out moments. “Ride The Fiery Breeze” on the other hand, samples one of the famous lines in David Lynch’s mystery drama, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me and eventually transitions into a chill-out froth. “All Your Children Want For Dinner Is You” ends the album with an indelible marker, drifting to new heights I never thought I’d imagined.
Encounters With A Yeti’s Pilot will not in its purpose, change your life or make way for some inner gravitas you’ve long wished to see or feel. But it’s the kind of record that delivers a vast thread of emotions that’s yet to be defined in words. And in case you haven’t seen them live, just play the record in as many times as you could. It brings the similar experience anyway—that seismic draw of a performance that just won’t let up. A-