Hands Off Cuba is from Nashville, Tennessee. The group originated in 2005 as the bedroom electronica project of Scott Martin and Ryan Norris. After releasing CoLab, a collaborative EP with the band Lambchop — which now claims both Martin and Norris as members — Hands Off Cuba expanded to include Lambchop mainstays William Tyler and Jonathan Marx. With the recent addition of Adam Bednarik and Matt Glassmeyer, the band's lineup continues to grow, with instrumentation ranging from digital samplers and keyboards to guitars, woodwinds and homemade percussion. Inspired in equal measure by the throbbing pulse of German progressive rock, the expansive sonic alchemy of Miles Davis and other electric jazz pioneers, and the mold-breaking compositions of the postwar avant-garde, Hands Off Cuba's sound is a compact distillation of wide-ranging ideas and musical personalities.

For their debut full-length recording, From Arrival to Survival, the group invited contributions from friends including Ben and Amy Marcantel, Cortney Tidwell and Luke Schneider, all of whom have collaborated with the members of Hands Off Cuba in other projects. Working both independently and together, Martin and Norris recorded and mixed all of the tracks, a process that yielded a wide array of sounds, styles and moods that nevertheless fit together into one cohesive whole. Moments of crackling electronica flow organically into burly rhythms, angular melodies and roiling pools of ambience.