Jarre brings politics to electonica

'Soul of soldier': The United States whistle-blower Edward Snowden features on a new album by Jean-Michel Jarre. (Lotta Hardelin, AFP)

'Soul of soldier': The United States whistle-blower Edward Snowden features on a new album by Jean-Michel Jarre. (Lotta Hardelin, AFP)

For his latest album, Jarre has enlisted major names in music including Cyndi Lauper and Pet Shop Boys but also a more unlikely guest artist — Edward Snowden, the former United States intelligence contractor turned privacy activist.

The French artist travelled to Moscow, where Snowden lives in exile to avoid prosecution in the US for leaking documents, and recorded with him the song Exit, which appears on Jarre’s new album, Electronica 2: The Heart of Noise.

Exit is driven by a frantic and ominous techno beat before breaking to unaccompanied spoken word by Snowden, who speaks of technology’s pernicious effect on privacy.

Jarre described Snowden as a patriot defending US values and said he had a strong interest, if not a background, in electronic music. “He is for me what the soul of a soldier is,” Jarre told AFP on a visit to New York.

In an era of right-wing populists such as the Republican Party presumptive nominee Donald Trump in the US and National Front president Marine Le Pen in France, Jarre voiced hope that Snowden instead “could be a very powerful reference for the youth” who reject the political order.

Jarre, a professed admirer of the US, said Snowden’s willingness to take personal risks had reminded him of his mother, who joined the resistance against Nazi German occupation of France in 1941.

“In those days, people don’t want to remember this, but a majority of people were against the resistance. They were considering them troublemakers or even traitors,” he  said. — AFP

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