Tonstartssbandht is Andy and Edwin White, two brothers from Orlando who reside in Montreal and New York City, respectively. This past weekend, they went on a quick tour to Russia and the Ukraine with a limited tour cassette called Hymn. The six-song EP glues together a few odds and ends from the past couple years, but these are by no means outtakes. Despite being divided into three, two-track sections (grouped according to recording date), the tape flows just like any other Tonstartssbandht release; a bit disjointedly, but with an attention to the texture and grain of low-fidelity that carries from each excursion to the next. Tonstartssbandht has a few "signature sounds," not just one, and Hymn touches on everything from burnt psych-rock and beautiful ambient passages to sampler-based rhythms and classic vocal pop.
The first two tracks, "Susie" and "Jessie", were recorded in February 2010, just before Edwin moved to New York from Montreal. These make for a solid 12 minutes of upbeat, psychedelic boogie-- recalling the Tonstartssbandht live experience, but slightly less off-the-walls. The next two, cut earlier this year, showcase the band's more ambient side: "Hymn Eola," recorded solo by Edwin in New York, is a response to "Hymn Our Garden," which Andy recorded in Montreal. Each piece records a different set of places, moments, and aesthetic phases within the brothers' collaboration and friendship, slapdashed together with all the continuity (and discontinuity) of memory.
The last two tracks on Hymn are the oldest, dating back to the Fall of 2009. Fans of Tonstartssbandht will recognize the drum sample at the beginning of "New Black Fever" as a shortened version of the one in "Black Country," a tune from 2009's An When; but then the track morphs into a take on "Fever" by reggae singer Horace Andy. The Tonstartssbandht method, according to Edwin: "We were messing around with the sampler and shortened the "Black Country" sample, but thought it sounded awesome, and we were practicing and I started singing "Fever" over it, 'cause it's one of my favorite songs. We turned it into a song. Later, I made up the opening part about Florida, and Andy recorded the ending part by himself like a year later. So it's a song, with a reggae cover in the middle."