In 2013, Edward Snowden leaked thousands of highly classified documents to journalists about the US government’s mass surveillance programs.
In 2016, he’s releasing a dance track.
The 32-year-old whistleblower is teaming up with legendary electronic artist Jean-Michel Jarre to produce a “techno” song for the musician’s upcoming album, after newspaper The Guardian put them in touch at Jarre’s request.
The song, called “Exit,” will appear on “Electronica Volume II: The Heart of Noise,” due out on May 6.
I’ve always appreciated electronic music,” Snowden, who currently lives at an undisclosed location in Russia, says in a video produced by The Guardian. “The melodies I remember with the most fondness are from video games where they generate 8-bit music, and those kind of chip tunes have really made a resurgence in modern musical culture today, and I thinkpeople like Jean-Michel are the ones that really popularised that, made it possible for us to appreciate it as more than just background but as actual culture.”
Jarre is a pioneering French electronic music producer. 67 years old, he has released more than two dozen album and racked up more than 80 million album sales. He says he is inspired by Snowden’s decision to speak out against US government surveillance, and is dedicating the new entire album to him. “The first time I heart about Edward Snowden, I thought about my Mum,” the artist says. “She was a great figure about the French Resistance and she went into the Resistance [at] more or less the same age.”
The song itself — which you can listen to a preview of in the video below — is a “speedy techno track evoking the constant and hectic production of data, this obsessive quest for more information on everything and everybody,” Jarre says.
It also includes vocal samples of Snowden talking about rights and privacy.
Snowden signs off the Guardian’s video with an ode to the power of music. “Music works across language, Music works across borders. Music works across culture. Music, as with all arts, is one of the only ways that we can create bonds and bridges between human hearts that are beyond semantic understanding — and that is reason more than anything else why we need music.”
Rave on, Ed.