How to Induce Daydreams: MUNYA’s ‘Jardin’

16 February 2024 / by Maya Fettes
MUNYA Jardin
Album reviews
MUNYA Jardin
Released: October 13, 2023
Label: Luminelle Recordings
Dream Pop / Pop
comment debord / Le Couleur
Hello Hi, Nelly

It might be February in Toronto right now, but picture June for a moment: linen clothing in pastel colours (of your choice), sparkling beverages (of your choice) and Jardin by MUNYA is playing (through a device of your choice). Or just start by listening to this album and the rest will follow in natural order. 


Classically trained pianist Josie Bolvin was born in Saguenay, Quebec, studied Jazz at the University of Montreal, performed backup for many musicians and has been releasing music under the name MUNYA since 2018. Jardin is her second album. 


The dreamily constructed release mirrors her debut Voyage to Mars in its similar pacing and reliable basslines, but steps up the playfulness. With eleven songs that sound effortlessly composed, Jardin explores emotional complexities to the tune of ethereal bedroom pop.


What this album succeeds in is creating a mood. Whether you intend to be lost in your fantasies or not, good French synth pop seems to have that effect on people, especially if you don’t speak French. Dreamy and bright, Jardin is narrated by MUNYA’s airy, slightly modulated vocals. Songs alternate between English and French and sometimes intertwine both in songs like “Every Morning”, which express the loving sentiment: “Do you still remember? / Souviens-toi pour toujours je suis à toi”.


The stand out for me was the opening track, “Hello Hi”. I heard it months ago in a one-off instance and added it to a playlist shortly thereafter. It starts off the album with this galactic riff that’s accompanied by a very sweet-sounding vocal and a backbeat that I can only describe as “bouncy”; it really gets in your ear. With a run time of exactly two minutes, it’s repetitive, lyrically minimal and keeps you nodding your head. You don’t even have time to get sick of it. 


“Hello Hi” feels the most different of all the songs on the album, but MUNYA isn’t the only artist who has taken to having the most “experimental” or sonically different song be their opening track — French musician Fabienne Debarre did this with the first song on her latest album too. 


That said, all of the songs complement each other. When you play the album through, it has a natural sonic arch and comes full circle. It darkens slightly on songs like “Caramel (Mon Coeur S’ouvre À Toi)” that offer melancholy, and lightens up again on “Un Deux Trois”; a groovy, well-paced track with jazz elements. 


Similar to the way the opening track feels like a contrast to the rest of the album, the closing track, “Vanilla,” kind of attempts the same thing by incorporating guitar that’s grungier than the instruments heard so far, but closes out the album nicely; it really sounds like the final song.


Jardin bodes equally well as background music or something to take centre stage. It’s mellow, warm and heartfelt. As a whole, it isn’t something you would claim is unlike anything you’ve ever heard but rather, it’s a great addition to an already strong genre, and that’s a feat in itself.