‘The Price Of Nothing & The Value Of Everything’, is the latest long player from Irish artist Circuit3, and the follow-up to his previous album, ‘siliconchipsuperstar’. A Dystopian masterpiece of ten tracks, it’s out now and available as a digital download, CD, or on vinyl.
Harking back to the 1978-1982 classic era of electronic pop, while retaining contemporary sensibilities and production values, ‘The Price Of Nothing & The Value Of Everything’ examines current and recent events and pulls no punches. It turns around the quip by Lord Darlington in Oscar Wilde’s ‘Lady Windemere’s Fan’, that a cynic is ‘a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.’ Is Circuit3 then the opposite of a cynic? Is he an optimist? It’s obvious he feels strongly, and wants to make a change in the world. With songs such as ‘Face In The Crowd’, and its clear lyrical references to the world refugee crisis – “ocean bridge to land of free”, and drowned toddler Alan Kurdi, the “tiny angel lost at sea”, he confronts the listener with the realisation this isn’t something that’s happening to people on the other side of the world, or even the other side of the ocean – this is any of us; this is all of us. What can we do to right this injustice?
The number sequences in track eight, ‘Breaking Point’, remind us of the repeated radio transmissions in Jean Cocteau’s Film Noir classic, ‘Orphée’. There’s further similarities in the setting of both this song and the film, with ‘Orphée’ set (and indeed, shot) in post war France, while ‘Breaking Point’ tells of a world teetering on the edge of destruction at the hands of politicians who aren’t so much working for the people as for their own selfish reasons. But there is hope – there’s always hope. In ‘Orphée’ the protagonist enters hell to recover his lover Eurydice, and they are both eventually allowed to return to life on earth. Likewise, in ‘Breaking Point’, the singer invites us to meet him at the breaking point, where we will start again.
Circuit3 draws on musical and lyrical influences we have come to expect – certainly there’s a lot of Gary Numan in there, with the pre- and post-apocalyptic lyrics, and the outright nod in the song ‘Electric’; there’s obviously been inspiration from The Human League (and indeed, Martyn Ware himself has praised Circuit3’s songwriting), but there’s also some less overt, and possibly unconscious influences – ‘Sold My Soul’, for example, calls to mind Giorgio Moroder’s production of Donna Summer’s ‘I Feel Love’.
There’s a lot of sadness in this album, and a sense of introspection. ‘Dirty Little Secret’ deals with that which has been brushed under the carpet for far too long in Ireland – the repealing of the Eight Amendment, overturning the ban on abortion is a step in the right direction, but there’s still so much further to go. “When I die look out for my ghost / You know why you should fear me most”. Likewise, ‘DNA’ is a moving track about mental health issues, particularly depression: there’s a hopeful element to the track however; although our DNA can’t be changed – it’s wired into us – some days are better than others. Let’s focus on the better days.
‘The Price Of Nothing & The Value Of Everything’ is a deeply emotive album, and at times, it feels almost voyeuristic, as Circuit3 lets us look inside his head, and shows us what’s been going on in there – clearly at times it’s been very dark indeed. While ‘siliconchipsuperstar’ drew attention more on the instrumentals – and that’s not to say they’re not worth listening to here, far from it – ‘The Price Of Nothing & The Value Of Everything’ calls us to focus on the lyrics, to dive deep and apply them to our own lives. What are we doing to help the current world situation? How can we be part of the change? Whatever we do, we have to do *SOMETHING*. It can’t keep going on the way it is. In the words of ‘Sold My Soul’:
“Now get up off your knees
The time has come to kill the fear”