The London-based synth-pop/dark wave project Linea Aspera was founded in 2011 and disbanded in 2013. The group formed by Ryan Ambridge (synths/programming) and Alison Lewis (vocals/synths) became a favorite act during their day and even became popular after its split. Alison Lewis (aka Zoé Zanias) continued later in the act Keluar and now solo as Zanias.

The label Dark Entries, that had released their self-titled debut in 2012, is now releasing "Preservation Bias", a compilation of lost songs and rarities. The "Preservation Bias" LP features all three songs from the limited "II" tour cassette EP (later on vinyl reissue on Weyrd Son Records in 2013), four songs from the 2012 self-titled limited cassette EP and the song "Attica" from the Desire Records 2013 compilation "And You Will Find Them In The Basement".

Linea Aspera's sound includes clear influences from 1980s electronic body music, synth-pop, industrial and noise. For all these recordings Ryan utilizes an analog synthesizer set up, using Roland SH-09, Roland Juno 6, Vermona DRM MKiii, Korg Poly 800 and Analogue Solutions Semblance. All appropriate for making their minimal synth tunes with light touches to EBM and a cold wave feel. Lyrically the band evolves around romantic themes of desire, despair and renewal, with the voice of Alison Lewis sounding bittersweet, captivating, sensual and icy.

The LP starts with "Preservation Bias (K7 Version)" a great synth driven track with Alison’s voice sounding so captivating and atmospheric. While with "Attica" the beat stats to kick in, making it the more EBM moment of the album. On "Kinabalu" and "Detachment" things become more oldschool minimal. On the second side we get the synth-pop track "Antipodean Tedium", with its 80s and bleak mood, followed by the more upbeat "Syncretism". With "Royal Straight" we have a really good instrumental track that’s sound more experimental. The album closes with "Vultures", another great example of this band’s songwriting with their trademark 80s synths over a dynamic monotonous rhythm topped with Aliso’s lovely voice.

For this release, all songs have been mastered by George Horn at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley. Each LP is housed in jacket designed by Niall Greaves and includes a double-sided insert with lyrics.

Review by Nick Drivas