Hunka Munka -
Foreste Interstellari

(CD 2021, 50:18, Black Widow Records BWR 237)

The tracks:
  1- La Dama Della Foresta(7:51)
  2- Brucerai(5:55)
  3- La Solitudine Delle Stelle(2:19)
  4- Idee Maledette(8:07)
  5- L'Uomo Dei Trenini(2:23)
  6- I Cancelli Di Andromeda(5:19)
  7- Foreste Interstellari(11:49)
  8- Amanti Come Noi(4:29)
  9- La Stanza Dei Bottoni(2:06)

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Italian keyboard player Roberto Carlotto from Varese, whose nickname was Hunka Munka, began playing as a child, and his professional musician journey took him to play in England, Germany and Switzerland, where he even had the chance of supporting such artists like Rod Stewart and Colosseum. In the early 2000's Carlotto started a collaboration with keyboardist Joey Mauro, and together they have now revitalized the Hunka Munka name and finally they released a new, album called Foreste Interstellari.

The first thing that strikes you when listening to this album is Carlotto's strangely tremolo'd voice. I have to admit that I could not truly get past this odd vocal and I feel that it is weakest point of what could have been a fairly decent album. For the purposes of this review we will just accept the fact that I do not like the vocals and I will focus on the musical contributions.

The first track, La Dama Della Foresta, opens very promisingly with Hammond organ and a great back beat. The addition of guitars and synthesizers creates a fantastic bed track. The Hammond solo later in the track brings to mind the great Vincent Crane.

Brucerai begins with some odd soundscapes that quickly give way to a high speed/high energy burst of synthesizers and Hammond organ.

La Solitudine Delle Stelle features some beautiful piano over which a processed vocalization creates a rather eerie, otherworldly feel. This is very good!

The next track, Idee Maledette, features some great playing and soloing over a fairly basic rhythm section.

L'Uomo Dei Trenini is a strange soundscape of mellotron like synths over a weird train sound effect which just ends being very irritating.

I Cancelli Di Andromeda is an excellent instrumental piece that reminds me in many ways of Focus and features some great guitar contributions from Gianluca Quinto. This is by far the best track on the album

The title track Foreste Interstellari begins as synthesized soundscape with some spoken-word and develops into an interesting piece, feeling almost symphonic until a piano/guitar breakdown and the vocals begin. The symphonic feel continues throughout with several keyboard and guitar solos punctuating the piece and some great drumming (including a small solo) from Marcantonio Quinto.

The backing track of Amanti Come Noi features some beautiful playing.

The album concludes with La Stanza Dei Bottoni which is a collection of sound effects and piano over synth pads which really goes nowhere.

Overall I would not recommend this album even though most of the performances are top-notch - Just not an enjoyable album to my ears.

** David Carswell

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