16 Janvier 2003

Peter Hammill


par Djul
Comme chaque année, Peter Hammill revient avec un nouvel album solo, sorti sur son label Sofa Sound. Rappelons que l’homme est le leader de feu Van Der Graaf Generator, une formation importante et pourtant mésestimée de la scène progressive des années 70. Peter revient donc, après What now et deux compilations, son dernier chef d’œuvre remontant à 1998 avec le fabuleux This.

Fidèle à sa tradition, Peter a composé la totalité des titres d’ailleurs relativement courts, mettant en valeur sa voix mi-fragile, mi-profonde, le tout dans une ambiance toujours très intimiste portant des paroles justes. Ce qui change en revanche, c’est l’habillage : après avoir utilisé des claviers, Peter a choisi ici de s’en tenir à la guitare acoustique. Point de rythmique ou d’instruments exotiques sur ce disque : Peter n’est accompagné que de ses deux anciens compères, Stuart Gordon (violons) et David Jackson (saxos, flûtes), dans une formule rappelant celle de Typical, double live où Peter affrontait seul son public. Le but de Clutch, affiché et le plus souvent atteint, est pourtant de ne pas proposer un simple « album folk », mais bien une musique qui se veut riche et ambitieuse.
La voix de Peter Hamill reste son principal atout, vue l’étendue de son registre, et elle est parfaitement servie sur l’évanescent « We are Written », une composition énergique sur laquelle on est surpris de voir Hammill, avec l’âge, atteindre des notes plus graves qu’il tient particulièrement longtemps. Dans le même esprit, « Bareknucke Trade » est le plus long morceau du disque, forcément épique et plein de breaks astucieux. On retrouve ce fameux ton mélodramatique et presque théâtral, qui sied bien aux textes très personnels de son auteur, comme sur « Once You Called Me ». Les voix sont souvent doublées, voire triplées (« Crosses Wires »), comme à l’habitude, le tout restant d’une tristesse hivernale, avec, et c’est notable, une tendance à des titres plus accessibles.

Cet exercice de style inédit est souvent convaincant, voire passionnant pour celui qui, connaissant le bonhomme, l’écoute repousser ses limites. Il n’en reste pas moins que l’aspect décharné, voire le ton et certaines harmonies vocales inhabituelles pourront rebuter et ne font pas de Clutch l’album le plus facile pour aborder Hammill. Pour une découverte, on lui préférera This, ou, plus loin de nous, Chameleon ou Nadir.
  • Année: 2003
  • Label: Sofa Sound


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