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Electronic music pioneer Jean-Michel Jarre is set to release one hell of a collaborative project with his forthcoming Electronica Volume II: The Heart Of Noise album. His biggest get of a guest? NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, whom Jarre is a massive fan of.
The unlikely duo collaborated on the song “Exit,” a high-tempo tour de force that includes a monologue from Snowden. The track’s music video even includes video footage of the exiled American delivering his speech to Jarre.
“Saying that you don’t care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don’t care about freedom of speech because you have nothing to say,” Snowden says as glitchy graphics and futuristic laser images distort his visage.
The two were introduced following an interview with the Guardian in which Jarre praised Snowden and compared him to his mother, who was part of the French resistance. The iconic musician then urged the paper to pass on his contact information to a solicitor in contact with Snowden.
From there, it was a matter of gaining Snowden’s approval of the song. The ex-NSA contract worker loved “Exit” and soon the two were talking over Skype to plan the best possible way for Snowden to get involved. Jarre claims that vocal as well as visual footage was pivotal to the project.
“I wanted to film him, because I want to play the track on stage,” Jarre said in a follow-up interview with the Guardian. “I think it’s important if I’m playing at festivals with a young audience that the statements in the track are promoted and exposed.”
A former Weekend Editor at the Daily Dot, April Siese's reporting covers everything from technology and politics to web culture and humor. Her work has been published by Bustle, Uproxx, Death and Taxes, Rolling Stone, the Daily Beast, Thrillist, Atlas Obscura, and others. Siese joined Quartz in December 2016.