Dublin’s CIRCUIT3 releases retro-futurist ‘Technology For The Youth’ LP

Dublin future-retro electronic artist Circuit3 (the electronic pop alias of Peter Fitzpatrick) presents his third album ‘Technology For The Youth’ LP. Released via Manchester’s AnalogueTrash label, this album was mastered by Richard Dowling, known for his work with Paul McCartney, Kylie Minogue, Motorhead, David Bowie, Foo Fighters, New Order and Sparks.

Named after the Soviet science & technology magazine, the album arrives like a fragment of an abandoned space station, virtually destroyed upon re-entering Earth’s atmosphere. Evoking different times and ambitions – the space race, moon shots, heroic achievements in the name of science, and unlikely Cold War collaborations in the USA and USSR – this album oscillates softly between hope and the limitless possibilities that fired up the imagination of young Fitzpatrick as he watched Apollo launches on his family’s TV set.

“As a kid, I’d been fascinated by things like Apollo 13,” remembers Fitzpatrick. “I was the kid who built the Airfix model of Saturn V. I was the kid with a pop-up book about Skylab. I wanted to be an astronaut when I grew up, and I had no fear whatsoever about going into space. At that time, everything seemed to be so futuristic, and for a lot of my childhood I genuinely imagined that I’d be like Martin Landau’s character John Koenig in ‘Space 1999’.”

Like the previous two Circuit3 albums – ‘siliconchipsuperstar’ LP (2016) and ‘The Price Of Nothing & The Value Of Everything’ (2019), which received praised by Martyn Ware (The Human League, Heaven17) – we find Fitzpatrick building crisp electronic pop songs from the enviable array of analogue synthesisers assembled in his home studio. Focusing squarely on that period before digital synthesis, much like how the lyrics on this new LP were informed by those space exploration endeavours occurring before the first Space Shuttle left Cape Canaveral.

Fitzpatrick began working on ‘Technology For The Youth’ in 2018-19 against a backdrop of extreme political upheaval. A lurch rightward in politics seemed to prompt a sudden disbelief in the science that had dominated Fitzpatrick’s boyhood thoughts, just at the point that the first manned mission to the Moon was reaching its 50th anniversary. Fitzpatrick suddenly found himself revisiting those youthful interests via an internet rabbit hole that revealed the less well-known aspects of the space race – the many successes that Russia had that didn’t quite break through the Cold War’s reinforced media blockade; the story of Ed Dwight, intended to be the first African-American in space but who never got to leave Earth; the litany of conspiracy theories involving lost Cosmonauts whose fate was covered up by the Russian government.

These stories provided the lyrical themes for the stirring pop tracks that ‘Technology For The Youth’ is built from. Dwight’s ordeal became the basis for ‘Spacewalking’ and its rumination on the inexplicability of racism, set to an 808 pattern that evokes the idea of gingerly walking out into space; the abandoned Cosmonaut crews drifting endlessly into deep space became the eerie ‘Transmissions’; ‘Blinded By The Sun’ deals with the Trump-era denial of science; ‘In The End (We Become Closer)’ offers hope by using news reports of the 1975 joint US-Russian Apollo-Soyuz mission to remind us of how we lost our way in space; ‘Overview Effect’ is named after the psychological effect that astronauts experience when observing the Earth from far above its atmosphere. “It seems to me that if everybody experienced that, they’d probably start listening to Extinction Rebellion a little more,” says Fitzpatrick.

If a fascination with space provided the emotional narrative arc for Technology For The Youth, it also informed the sonic structures that his lyrics float over. The pieces are fragile and minimal, built from layers so sparse that you can almost see the stars between them, each one edged with reflective, metallic textures like the exterior surface of an orbiting rocket.

I really stripped these songs down a lot more than on my previous two albums. When I lived in New York in the early 1990s, I did sound design and composition for a living. I didn’t have much money and I didn’t have much equipment, so I knew how to work minimally. That experience was really useful while I was making this album: every sound has to do its job. If it’s not doing anything, you take it out,” says Fitzpatrick.

For Fitzpatrick this was the album he always hoped he would make and one that he has poured his entire heart and soul into. Retro-futuristic but undeniably human, ‘Technology For The Youth’ is electronic pop constructed from the brave ambitions of forward-thinking scientists and politicians, and the remembered hopes, dreams and fascinations of a young Dublin boy.

In the lead-up to the album, Circuit3 released the ‘Overview Effect’ EP, featuring remixes by KeX/1 (Lloyd Price of The Frixion) and AnalogueTrash label-mates Vieon, and ‘Future Radio’, co-produced by Wolfgang Flür (Kraftwerk) collaborator iEuropean (Sean Barron) and co-written with Brian McCloskey. It also features a remix by Ricardo Autobahn (AKA John Matthews), best known as one half of Spray and UK chart toppers The Cuban Boys. Circuit3 also recently featured on Rodney Cromwell ‘Opus Three’ EP.

As of July 15, ‘Technology For The Youth’ will be released across online platforms, including Spotify, Apple Music, and Bandcamp. The album is also available on vinyl (with 5 different colour options).

All music written and recorded by Peter Fitzpatrick
All lyrics written by Peter Fitzpatrick except ”Future Radio’, written by Brian McCloskey
All songs recorded and produced in Ireland by Peter Fitzpatrick
‘Future Radio’ co-produced by Sean Barron (ex-Kraftwerk collaborator iEuropean)
Mastered by Richard Dowling (WAV Mastering)
Backing Vocals on ‘Overview Effect’ by Alessia Turcato
Artist bio by Mat Smith (Electronic Sound)

1.Ветерок 02:07
2.50 Years Ago 04:49
3.Спутник 01:44
4.Star City 04:27
5.Weightless (Part 1) 01:20
6.Blinded By The Sun 04:42
7.Луна 02:48
8.Transmissions 06:09
9.Чайка 01:11
10.Valentina Fly 03:22
11.Jupiter City 02:06
12.Spacewalking 03:34
13.Лайка 01:50
14.Future Radio 04:37
15.Weightless (Part 2) 02:45
16.Overview Effect 04:40
17.In The End (We Become Closer) 03:12