In the last year, Edward Snowden got a verified Twitter account, was interviewed by John Oliver, and appeared on Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s Star Talk podcast. And today he can add something else to his list of impressive hobbies: making music. The NSA whistleblower has teamed up with electronic musician Jean-Michel Jarre for “Exit,” a song off Jarre’s upcoming album, Electronica Volume II: The Heart Of Noise.
After editors at The Guardian introduced them, Jarre and Snowden discussed the song’s concept over Skype. Then Jarre traveled to Moscow to meet Snowden in person and record the track. Snowden’s contribution to “Exit” consists of little more than spoken commentary about surveillance, but his decision to help out Jarre seems to come from a fan’s perspective.
Snowden, the musician
“I’ve always appreciated electronic music,” Snowden said in an interview with The Guardian. “The melodies I remember with the most fondness are from video games, with a kind of generated 8-bit music. And those kinds of chiptunes have really made a resurgence in modern musical culture today.”
But “Exit” isn’t really a chiptune track. The song is splintered and aggressive, like a much more unsettling Poltergeist theme. Electronica 2: The Heart of Noise features several other collaborators like Julia Holter, Primal Scream, Pet Shop Boys, Peaches, and Cyndi Lauper.
No word yet on if Snowden and Jarre will be taking this show on the road. For now, you can listen to “Exit” below. The album will be released on May 6th, 2016.