When's the Last Time You Listened to a Sixteen-Minute Song?

Matt Menovcik
You may recognize Matt Menovcik from Lesli Wood's now-defunct band Ms. Led, and perhaps, from a more recent project called Saeta. Lately, though, Menovcik's been working on an electronic, ambient project called Vinca Minor. He'll be releasing a seven-song EP, Isolation, at the JewelBox this Thursday. And the first song on the damn thing is 16 minutes long (to be exact, 16 minutes and two seconds.) But what's even more shocking is that I actually listened to the whole thing -- and I am a person who basically considers "ambient" to be synonymous with "soporific." It's not for lack of trying. I want to appreciate ambient music. I really do want to be one of those super-hip-and-enlightened people who "get it." But most of the time, all I seem get out of such music is an overwhelming desire to lay down and close my eyes.

And yet, there's a difference between being lulled to sleep and being bored to sleep. While the songs on this little disc are quiet, languid things best suited for solitary listening, adhering faithfully to the theme of isolation, they are surprisingly heady, both in the climactic moments and in the quiet, even silent spaces Menovcik disperses throughout his compositions. It comes as no surprise that Menovcik likes writing film scores. There's a somber, eerie beauty to these songs, and the best comparison I can come up with when I think about the experience of listening to them is that it's like watching fire burn or waves wash in and out, or engaging your brain in some meditative activity that isn't an activity at all, but a means through which you can more thoroughly explore the contents of your own head. Needless to say, I will never view ambient music the same way again.

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