Yak likes percussion. This is the first and most important thing to know about the Sheffield-based artist, who's gone from a relative unknown to one of the more interesting UK names in the last couple years. He works within a fairly wide range of genres, but John Randall isn't a collage artist in the experimental club vein—rather, he usually applies his rolling, tumbling, midrange-heavy style to different forms, giving his music a broad yet coherent feel that's earned him releases on popular labels like 3024 and R&S. Umbra / Kaepora is his return to Version, the Berlin label that put out Mido / Darunia, his breakout release.
"What is this?" was the question I asked myself on first hearing "Umbra." Honestly, I'm still not sure. It's not that its broken beat and dense percussion patterns are strange or mysterious, it's more that it's difficult to know where to place them. At times the track reminded me of '90s Chemical Brothers, only with a different bank of samples. The origins or destination of "Kaepora" aren't much clearer. It could be grime-influenced, but there's a slippery quality that makes it more ambiguous. Does all of this mean the EP will slip through the cracks or could it actually appeal to a wide range of DJs? Either way, Umbra / Kaepora stands out.