Linea Aspera :: Linea Aspera (Dark Entries)

The economic, social and environmental plates have been shifting viciously for years, culminating in the financial quake we are living through. Linea Aspera take up a synthesizer and a soulful songstress to map this present state.

[Release page] I recently mentioned the prospect of “something” being in the waters of the US West Coast for releasing lost music. I’m now convinced. On the Pacific West Medical Records are bringing two forgotten texts back to vinyl. Dark Entries go even further, two obscure LPs and a brand new piece of synthesizer music. But focus on the new.

A crisp beat and infectious arpeggiated line introduces Linea Aspera. When it seems that machine have the stage a lone vocalist descends to slice through the circuitry. Alison Lewis’ vocals are weighty with emotion, their content reflecting the strange modern mix of man and appliance. The group take a cue from the Cold Wave mood. Dissatisfied, disaffected and disenfranchised. But Linea Aspera have an undeniably contemporary aspect. They parallel the post-industrial detachment of New Wave but serve it on a plate of quantitatively eased societies and tentatively balanced tablets. “Preservation Bias” has an environmental context, apocalyptic lyrics entwined with brooding synthlines. There’s something of an English Xeno & Oaklander to this London duo. The lyrics have a complexity often found wanting in other synth acts. “Lamanai” sees waves of analogue dashed with snares and rocked by pulses of noise as powerful vocals dominate. “Reunion” closes the album with a sublime melody with Lewis reciting an unrequited memory. A brilliant piece to close on.

I’m a bit of a broken record when it comes to contemporary synth wave acts. It’s the quality of the past that eclipsed the present. Linea Aspera can stand shoulder to shoulder with any of the veterans. True, their sound is much more polished; but the epicenter of expression comes from the same source. The economic, social and environmental plates have been shifting viciously for years, culminating in the financial quake we are living through. Linea Aspera take up a synthesizer and a soulful songstress to map this present state.

Linea Aspera is available on Dark Entries. [Release page | Purchase at Genetic Music]

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