‘Hotel Delmano’ by MUNYA dreams in French about New York. A swipe of organ keys gives a theatrical opening to signal entering the REM cycle, then hushed French lifts listeners into a smoky den of warn wood and marble countertops. The rich sounds and atmosphere explore the dreamlike state of a real place in memory. It gives a rosy romanticism to the imagination.
MUNYA is the project of Québécois musician Josie Boivin, who is working on a set of three EPs, each taking place in a different location. In May, she released the first, North Hatley, which is about a small village in Quebec. On October 5, Boivin will unveil the second record, Delmano, which is named after the bar Hotel Delmano.
The shabby chic Hotel Delmano sits on Berry St., three blocks from McCarren Park and three blocks from the East River, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. A decade ago, the neighborhood was filled with some of New York’s hippest denizens – the year the bar opened. That time now sits as if in a dream, it has been gallery-ized, like Paris’ Left Bank. And now it’s filled with recent college grads who have convinced their parents that it’s safe to live in. Whole Foods and an Apple Store have arrived.
“There is a French band named Vendredi sur Mer and I just fell in love with their music video of ‘La Femme à la Peau Bleue’,” explains Boivin about the inspiration behind the song. “I watched it so many times that she entered my dreams, once we were having a drink at Hotel Delmano. The song is about that dream.”
It’s important to know about the history of a place as well as its modern reality. Williamsburg is still romanticized, filled with those hoping to break into ‘the cool’, but also with money and opportunities to make it happen – much like La Rive Gauche – and drastically different from a decade previous. Boivin’s music carries the qualities of 90s French pop – with Air and Stereolab both being easy reference points – and there’s still something quixotic about that genre during that period as well.
All of it serves to create something beautiful and untouchable on ‘Hotel Delmano’. Sharp snares snap, organ notes wable, and Boivin’s smoky vocals creates a beautiful portrait of a time spent speaking with a blue-skinned woman at a bar that was originally created to look like it was in a different, more romantic time, in a place that has since become glamorized by many. This is what gives ‘Hotel Delmano’ its beauty and its delicacy. It’s a dream that feels incredibly real, but that could simply never have happened.
HURRY – BUY – MUNYA MUSIC