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.

Recall­ing Albert Camus’ Fash­ion Advice, Noam Chom­sky Pans Glenn Greenwald’s Shiny, Pur­ple Tie

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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