How To Listen To Edward Snowden's Techno Song (And What You Should Listen For)
The infamous former Central Intelligence Agency employee who leaked classified information about the National Security Agency in 2013 has a new project that's almost as shocking as his first stunt. Edward Snowden released a techno track with French electronic music producer Jean-Michel Jarre Friday, much to everyone's surprise. The song, titled "Exit," will be on Jarre's upcoming album Electronica II: The Heart of Noise, featuring Snowden speaking over the musician's beats.
"Edward is an absolute hero of our times," Jarre told The Guardian's Alexis Petridis. The composer and producer asked the British newspaper to put him in touch with Snowden after an interview last year, saying he'd created a song for the U.S. exile that he described as a "hectic, obsessive techno track, trying to illustrate the idea of this crazy quest for big data on one side and the manhunt for this one young guy by the CIA, NSA, and FBI on the other."
The paper goes on to report that Jarre was put in contact with Ben Wisner, Snowden's solicitor, who passed the idea along to the whistleblower who's still living in Russia. After a meeting over Skype, Snowden's voice was recorded for the track, and Jarre later flew to Moscow to get film of Snowden to accompany the song.
Jarre is clearly a big fan of Snowden's, telling The Guardian that he reminds him of his mother. "She joined the French resistance in 1941, when people in France still thought they were just troublemakers, and she always told me that when society is generating things you can’t stand, you have to stand up against it," he said.
In a video given to Rolling Stone, Snowden says he's always appreciated electronic music, which makes sense for a computer wiz. "The melodies that I remember with most fondness are actually from video games where they generate 8-bit music, and those kinds of chiptunes have really made a resurgence in modern musical culture today," he says in the video. "And I think people like Jean-Michel are the ones who really popularized that and made that possible for us to appreciate it as more than just sounds, as more than just background, but as actual culture."
Snowden actually named the song, using "exit" to refer to an action that may change everything (much like his own actions). "Technology can actually increase privacy," he says in Exit. "The question is: Why are our private details that are transmitted online, or why are private details that are stored on our personal devices, any different than the details and the private record of our lives that are stored in our private journals."
Rolling Stone got a copy of the duo's techno track, and you can listen to it on the magazine's website. Electronica II: The Heart of Noise drops May 6, and you'll receive an immediate download of "Exit" if you pre-order the album.