Edward Snowden & Jean-Michel Jarre Record a Techno Protest Song, “Exit”

For his new album, Electronica Volume II: The Heart Of Noise, Jean-Michel Jarre, a pioneer in electronic and ambient music, collaborated on a recording with Edward Snowden, the former CIA computer analyst-turned-whistleblower. Cue up their song, “Exit,” above.

At first glance, it perhaps seems like an unlikely pairing. But if you give Jarre, the son of a French resistance fighter, a chance to explain, it all makes perfect sense. Recently, he told The Guardian:

The whole Electronica project is about the ambiguous relationship we have with technology: on the one side we have the world in our pocket, on on the other, we are spied on constantly. There are tracks about the erotic relationship we have with technology, the way we touch our smartphones more than our partners, about CCTV surveillance, about love in the age of Tindr. It seemed quite appropriate to collaborate not with a musician but someone who literally symbolises this crazy relationship we have with technology.

A lot of what Jarre and Snowden were trying to accomplish with the song–musically, conceptually, ideologically, etc.–gets explained in the video below. Listening to Snowden talk about the meaning of the song’s title (“Exit” means “things have to change,” “it’s time to leave, it’s time to do something else, it’s time to find a better way”), you’ll get the sense that “Exit” is an electronic protest song befitting our digital age. Out with the folk music, in with the techno.

Electronica Volume II: The Heart Of Noise also features songs with the Pet Shop Boys, Gary Numan and the rapper Peaches.

Related Content:

Whistleblowing Is Not Just Leaking — It’s an Act of Political Resistance. Read Snowden’s first long form essay, released just last week.

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The History of Electronic Music in 476 Tracks (1937-2001)

Hear Seven Hours of Women Making Electronic Music (1938- 2014)

How the Moog Synthesizer Changed the Sound of Music


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