Edward Snowden is famous for two things: leaking thousands of documents revealing a vast, secretive government-surveillance apparatus threatening the civil liberties of every American, and sick beats.
That’s why this morning’s news that Snowden has collaborated with electronic-music genius Jean Michel Jarre is so exciting. The world has been waiting for Snowden’s single to drop and, finally, that single is dropping. The track, “Exit,” will be released this weekend, the Guardian reports, though it’s already on Spotify now. Snowden appears around the 3:28 mark talking about the importance of protecting our right to privacy. The track is, in the words of this tech writer, poppin’.
Describing his upcoming album, Electronica 2: The Heart of Noise, Jarre got real deep:
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 Tinder. It seemed quite appropriate to collaborate not with a musician but someone who literally symbolises this crazy relationship we have with technology.”
Wow. Profound stuff. Really makes you think …
Jarre was put in touch with Snowden after giving an interview to the Guardian last year. Snowden, an avid fan of electronic music, agreed to collaborate on the track, where he can be heard speaking but, unfortunately, not singing.
“I sent him a demo of the music, then had a meeting with Edward over Skype, 90 minutes of conversation, where I gave him the understanding of what I wanted to do, we talked about his situation, the reason why he did what he did, then we recorded his vocals,” Jarre said.
All of this begs the question: having already disrupted an enormous state-sponsored eavesdropping conspiracy, has Snowden set his sights on EGOTing? He came close to an Academy Award last year when Citizenfour, the documentary about him, won an Oscar.
Branching out into music is a smart move for Snowden. Most members of the EGOT club are composers and musicians that provide music for film and television as well. The Tony race is probably the toughest for Snowden to enter, given its geographic specificity, but he could probably write the book for an award-winning production.
For now, however, Snowden’s trophy case remains empty.