ONCE in a while, an album drops through the door that defies definition. Artefacts, the long-awaited debut album from Edinburgh’s Yoko Pwno is certainly such an album.

Yoko Pwno (pronounce it as if it rhymes with Yoko Ono) first came to notice with the release of their eponymous EP back in 2014.

It was an intriguing fusion of electronica and folk and quickly became a word-of-mouth hit.

Since then the band have gone through some line-up changes and have signed to Iain Copeland’s Skye Records – and the result is the record that fans of the band have been hoping for.

Dripping with references to techno, drum and bass and Chicago house, this is traditional music given a new and infectious energy. Techno was once famously described by Derrick May as George Clinton being trapped in a lift with Kraftwerk. How, then, to describe the music of Yoko Pwno?Calum Cummins, one of the founding members of the band, attempts an explanation.

“It’s a good question!” he says. “It’s a mixture of traditional and electronic forms where both are given equal precedence. I’m not one for the stuck in an elevator pitch to be honest but I would say that for us getting the dance music side of things right – having the drum and bass sound like drum and bass and the house music like house music – is just as important as getting the folky stuff right. It’s a neat marriage of the traditions, if you like. It’s not just superficially chucking a bunch of synths at a trad tune.”

Artefacts certainly lives up to that description. With the driving fiddles of Lewis Williamson and Lissa Robertson to the fore, backed up by Cummins’s electronic wizardry and the drums of Ali Hutchison, it is a record that is so much more than simply a dancefloor filler.

Anyone familiar with those early tracks – Night Drive Through Baberton, Gengis Shan et al – will be delighted with the band’s evolution. The sound on Artefacts is bigger, takes in even more influences and has a slickness that never edges into the overproduced.

Artefacts manages to capture the essential essence of Yoko Pwno while building on that early signature sound. That, explains, Cummins, is a result in part of line-up changes and the growing assuredness of the band.

“Lewis went away to tour America with a guy called Andrew Hill and by the time he got back we’d been offered a couple of gigs so I’d got another fiddle player and a drummer by then – more or less by accident,” Cummins said. “So when he came back from America, he came back to a functioning band.

“I’d also completed a sound engineering course by that point and so we were just thinking ‘OK, what do we do next?’ when Iain Copeland appeared over the horizon. It was a natural progression for us then to sign to Skye and produce an album.”

The National:

Cummins says of the band’s more expansive sound: “Having more musicians in the band gives you a wider palette of sounds to play with, An album means you have to concentrate on making music that people would like to listen to while sitting down which isn’t really something we’d done before.

All of our music was very dancefloor orientated to so we did have to make an effort to expand upon it.”

One of the key differences on Artefacts is the addition of songs to Yoko Pwno’s repertoire. The vocals are provided by Robertson and are a genuine delight. Her soulful voice appears to bring together the two great cities of America’s midwest – Chicago and Detroit – and adds another exciting dimension to the record.

“Lissa is classically trained,”

says Cummins. “She went to the Conservatoire but her background – and I don’t know if she’ll thank me for saying this – is singing at weddings. So she’s massively practised in singing that kind of repertoire of 1970s and 80s soul and funk hits that really influenced that Chicago house sound. So when she opens her mouth to sing she just sounds like that.

“She’s a real joy to work with and it’s made a huge difference to us as a band, not just having to rely on the fiddles and stuff.”

While Cummins concentrates on the production and sound of the band, his background is something of a surprise. As well as being a trained sound engineer and clearly someone who is steeped in the traditions of electronic music he is actually best known for playing saxophone in Bombskare - one of Scotland’s foremost ska bands. “My background is in playing music for drunk people to dance to!” Cummins says. “But my background is as a studio engineer. I work at North Edinburgh Arts in Muirhouse, running a studio that’s accessible to a fairly deprived community there. So part of my job is to provide tech support and facilitate workshops for kids from deprived areas. It’s called Studio Ember and it’s an amazing job.”

So from ska to folk to techno, Cummins’s musical influences may seem at first glance to be disparate but there is, as he explains, a common thread running through these genres.

“These genres all have a kick drum going right the way through and also that euphoric feeling,” he says. “When you mention folk music to people who aren’t lucky enough to come from a country like Scotland they tend to think of the likes of Bob Dylan rather than music for dancing.”

Yoko Pwno have a busy summer ahead of them. They are fast becoming festival must-haves and as such have been honing their live show as they prepare for the next phase in their development.

“We’ve just done a four-date Scottish tour to prepare ourselves for the festival season so we’ve got our heads round the tech now,” Cummins said. “Our next gig is at Knockengorroch and then after that we’ll be playing Howlin Fling on Eigg and then Eden Festival.

“Beyond that we’re playing at Tandem Festival in Oxfordshire, Landed in Wales, and the Sunday at Kelburn, just before Shooglenifty – we’re really excited about that.”

Cummins cites Shooglenifty as being one of the band’s key influences but there are others and they are not all folkies either.

“Apart from Shooglenifty there’s SaltfishForty and Sandy Brechin,” Cummins says. “In terms of the electronic music, Ali and Lissa are really into Submotion Orchestra and Disclosure while I’m more into the Prodigy and Aphex Twin and stuff like that.”

This wide and disparate range of influences is evident throughout Artefacts. Yoko Pwno arrived on the scene and created a stir that has been a long time gestating. With their debut album, however, they have delivered.

It has been worth waiting for.

Artefacts is available now on Skye Records. For more info go to www.skyerecords.com. The band play Knockengorroch World Ceilidh on Friday May 24 and Howlin Fling on Saturday, June 1.