Minco Eggersman: Ooit
Symbolic Interaction / Volkoren

In some ways, Ooit (Dutch for “one day”) is an odd, even perplexing Symbolic Interaction release. The album's pretty acoustic vignettes sound like little else in the label's catalogue, and there's rarely an overt electronic element to be heard. Maybe, however, it's the listener who's misguided for thinking the release should conform to a template that doesn't exist, and that Kentaro Togawa always envisioned his label as one that would transcend genres and resist pigeon-holing. Perhaps also the release should simply be taken on its own terms and not be considered in the context of others.

Certainly it's a singular release in a number of ways. Firstly, Ooit (a joint release by Symbolic Interaction and Volkoren) includes two discs, one the gentle music Minco Eggersman recorded as a soundtrack to the film (supplemented by a few extra tracks) and the other Jaap Van Heusden's forty-minute film. Without giving too much away, the latter offers an affecting and at times suspenseful account of what transpires over a few days in the life of thirty-four-year-old Jos (Barry Atsma), a mentally-challenged man whose every moment is overseen by his devoted mother (Leny Breederveld). Hanging from Jos's neck is a picture booklet that helps bring an orderly sequence to his day's activities, with everything from putting on slippers to washing hands itemized in its well-worn pages. To say more would give away too much though the astute viewer may guess where the story's going before the story's pivotal event happens. Though Ooit is short by conventional cinematic standards, it's no surprise that this sweet and captivating (educational, even, in its way) film was nominated for a “Gouden Kalf” (the Dutch version of the Oscars).

Though little known on these shores, Eggersman (aka ME) is known in the Netherlands as a singer and drummer in the post-rock band At the Close of Every Day and as the manager of Volkoren and parent label Sally Forth. His soundtrack is perfect “early morning” music; gentle and easy on the ears, the collection manages to squeeze eighteen short vignettes of largely acoustic design into its thirty-three-minute running time. Acoustic guitar, piano, and organ occupy the front-line with melodica, vibraphone, synthesizer, and drums occasionally appearing to flesh out the sound. A few tracks feature contemporary production touches—samples, voice fragments darting through the background—but the material's most affecting when it stays close to its acoustic roots. Unassuming when heard by itself, the music functions as a lovely support to the film by being so unobtrusive. Regardless, songs as wistful and pretty as “Toon,” “Tot Zo Ver,” “Naar De Zee,” and “Taart Ja” are always welcome, whether they're heard as part of a film or not.

June 2009