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Brian Eno once commented that there was too much new music to listen to and that he had a habit of only keeping 20 or so CDs at one time, constantly disregarding as more were obtained.

To echo his views I would add that there is too much new music to listen to that doesn't make you want to go back for more. However, one that falls outside of this bracket and is worthy of repeated spins is the new Symptoms CD: Apathy.

The man behind Symptoms, Klaus Ammitzboel, offers 45 minutes of post-ambient minimalism, perhaps creating a new genre in the process. He has selected his sound palette very carefully and mostly relies on simple repeated patterns and motifs with washes of keyboards. The opening and closing sounds of cars travelling along roads immediately brought to mind Kraftwerk's Autobahn.

I don't know whether Klaus has heard of—or is even influenced by—1970s German bands such as Cluster or Harmonia, but these are some of the influences that I hear in this album. Mind you, on the first Symptoms CD, Klaus claimed his influences were more mainstream, so who knows what he has been up to in the interim?

What these car noises do is suitably frame the journey that Klaus takes us on and, like during most journeys, we drift in and out of paying attention. As such, Apathy exists in the true Eno definition of 'ambient' and works on both these levels. It is as ignorable as it is listenable and this is its strength. Like the first album, Apathy is often more like a film score and benefits from Ammitzboel's attempts at combining noise and beauty.

With the release of Apathy and Silo's Alloy it seems that Swim is moving into a new phase. One hopes that the future is bright and future releases can sustain the excellent quality control that is prevailing here.

Kevin Eden (August, 2001)

Cover artwork