This is in no way, shape or form remotely like a Red Hot Chili Pepper’s record. Recorded in a back room of Flea’s (the band’s bassist) house, he said originally there were no plans for the tracks on the album to be anything but a bit of fun and a good opportunity for Chili Pepper’s drum technician, Chris Warren, to learn how to be a sound engineer.
Helen Burns is very experimental and instrumental, containing tracks full of white noise, synthesized laser beam sounds, and drum machine beats. Although there are many points over the 26 minutes where the EP might be unlistenable and inaccessible for a lot of Chilli Pepper fans, there are the occasional moments of eerie serenity.
Patti Smith makes an appearance on title track Helen Burns which gives a calm reprieve away from manic tracks like ‘333’ and ‘A Little Bit of Sanity.’
It’s an incredibly bare song consisting only of Smith’s vocals over a simple piano line but falls smack bang in this pit of experimental electronic mess. It’s the abrupt halt on the audio assault of the first three tracks that adds eeriness to Smith’s already haunting voice.
Being a good fellow, Flea isn’t making Chili Pepper’s fans pay outright for an EP he didn’t think would actually amount to anything. Instead he’s made it available on the internet, giving fans the choice of either downloading it for free or making a donation to the Silverlake Conservatory of Music he co-founded in 2001.