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Sentenced To Love

by Aging

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Directly influenced by the film noir tradition and the hardboiled detective novels of yesteryear, Aging craft gloom heavy mood music that aspires to create a cinema without image. ‘Sentenced To Love’ is the pinnacle of the band's work.

Led by David McLean, Aging’s fourth album is a direct continuation of the music he was commissioned to make during his 2017 Samarbeta Residency with The Crime Scene Ensemble, a 15 piece band of actors and jazz musicians formed to live soundtrack the short stories of pulp fiction writer and collage artist Phil Carney. Chronicling tales full of obsession, longing, double crosses and murder, the same thematic and melodic gravitas is present in ‘Sentenced To Love’, largely due to a handpicked selection of musicians from Manchester’s avant-garde and experimental music scenes being involved in both.

Whereas previous records by the band have largely been improvised, the six brooding scenes that complete ‘Sentenced To Love’ reveal a new compositional rigour and emotional weight, whilst still retaining pockets of nocturnal improvisation, each carefully crafted to create their own distinct and filmic sound world. From the low lit, dive bar blues of ‘Nights In Amber’ to the gun out chase theme of ‘The Trapped Man’, the nameless cowboy ghost story ‘A Shadow On My Name’ and the redemptive odyssey of ‘Cursed With The Thirst’, Aging’s detailed mise-en-scene full of brass, double bass, simmering drums and reverb drenched guitars conjures the pantheon of noir cinema. This is no truer than on the album’s title track, a vampiric torch song whose crescendo soars with Ali Bell’s lamenting, tremulous vocals, which act as a midnight confession of a doomed romance.

In an age where most musicians are attempting to free themselves from limitations, Aging’s ‘Sentenced To Love’ stands proudly as a genre record, one evoking the tradition of the jazz ballad, designed to swallow the listener into the dark cascade of its drama.



"Like its cover, Sentenced To Love , from the English jazz group Aging, offers us the soundtrack of a night stroll through the streets of an imaginary city.

Recently, we praised the beauty and the darkness of the music composed by Eric Demarsan for the documentary dedicated to Jean-Pierre Melville . In a fairly similar spirit, musically speaking, we can listen to the fourth album of the group Aging to immerse you from the first seconds in a very pleasant retro thriller atmosphere.

So here is a jazz record that invites us to a night walk in small dark streets or large avenues lit by pale lampposts depending on the title. A record by David McLean and his group Aging composed of avant-garde musicians from the Manchester experimental jazz scene. A very cinematographic record in which the double bass and the brass come forward to accompany the drums and the guitar. [7/10]"
- Hop-Blog, France

"It's probably no problem that we start with an apology. With Aging, or one of the many musical alter egos of multi-instrumentalist, visual artist, improviser and label owner of Tombed Vision David Andrew McLean, we dive into the world of dark jazz. A musical realm that you may know more about than we do, but which, because of the wonderful film noir atmosphere and mystique of this music, we want to delve into with you.

Six tracks out of seven, up to nine minutes long, this company spreads a wonderful atmospheric print. Like a film full of fantasy, but without images. In the twilight of a street lamp, under the neon sign on the cover ... life at night on the fringes of society.

Aging 's fourth full-length was composed during a series of live performances in which McLean and the fifteen-piece Crime Scene Ensemble had to provide improvised music for plays by short story writer Phil Carney. That was the source of inspiration for 'Sentenced To Love', which incorporates similar, heavy emotions of romance, drama, recalcitrance and even murder.

It is also a fact that this record is one of the rare times that David McLean has allowed himself to be led to effective writing and composing of music and the improvisation factor is secondary. That makes this very casual record nice and compact and solid. Fixed themes that we repeatedly fall back on, instruments that are neatly in place and do not constantly touch each other, and a clear less-is-more approach ensure great accessibility.

Perhaps the most impressive addition is the opening track, Beneath Heaven . On a very slow, lingering rhythm of tapping drums and with an exhausted late-night piano, a musical story opens in which melancholy trumpet, sliding sax, flanger guitar and even the slightly husky siren vocals of Ali Bell are nicely entwined. A beautiful whole of continuous movement and innovation in which the total color of the number - dark blue - takes precedence.

That color comes out even more clearly in the duet of gracefully walking and soloing piano and winding sax of successor and jazz ballad The Trapped Man . This as always with the constant support of a shuffling snare drum and a warm bouncing double bass. And so every instrument gets a leading role somewhere on this album. Listen to The Shadow With No Name in which a reverberating surf guitar sets the tone along with wordless vocals from Miss Bell and smooth gliding trumpet. This creates a kind of beautiful slow country, Morricone sound.

So yes, the happy few can feel free to rub their hands when they get their hands on a copy of 'Sentenced To Love'. It is a very beautiful, cinematic record that takes you into the world of your own fantasy and builds a beautiful bridge between the devoted jazz fans and a wider audience."
- Johan Giglot, Da Music, Germany

"David McLean, Aging's foundational member and guitarist/pianist on this release, has enlisted the help of fellow Manc label Gizeh to co-release this alongside his own Tombed Visions, and where previous joints like 2017's Suitable For Night were borne of improvisation, these six pieces are more composed, in both senses. Musicians you may have encountered in bands such as Action Beat and GNOD, as well as McLean's one-off Crime Scene Ensemble performance in Salford, work with a sparse tenacity, Will Lewis-Clarke's trumpet especially lyrical and delicate as vocalist Ali Bell melts into the soundworld through often-wordless crooning and muttered monologues."
- Noel Gardner, The Quietus


released May 1, 2020

Mark Hanslip – Tenor Saxophone
Will Lewis-Clarke – Trumpet, Piano
David McLean – Guitar, Piano
Andy Patterson – Double Bass
Jon Perry - Drums
Harry Taylor – Guitar
Ali Bell – Voice

Recorded at Club Lit by Jon Perry
Additional recording by Harry Taylor, Mark Hanslip and David McLean
Mixed by Jon Perry & David McLean
Mastered by Tom Platt
Photography by Stuart Southwell
Graphic Design Lewis McLean


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Tombed Visions Records Manchester, UK

Tombed Visions is a Manchester based cassette label specialising in improvisation, ambient music, experimental electronics and noir aesthetics and aims to showcase the fringes of contemporary independent music. All releases are limited edition and packaged with care, combining a love of graphic design, photography, typography with the wondrous sounds released. ... more

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