Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea has released a solo EP, Helen Burns, to benefit the Silverlake Conservatory of Music, a non-profit organization he co-founded in 2001 to facilitate music education among L.A.-area youth. The six-track EP, which features vocal contributions from Patti Smith, is now exclusively available to download on the Silverlake Conservatory website using a pay-as-you-like model. It will receive a widespread digital release on August 9th.
"Hi people who like the Red Hot Chili Peppers!" the bassist wrote in a statement posted on the organization's website. "I love you a lot! Mucho! Just wanted to give you a heads up about this little record 'Helen Burns' I am putting out on the Silverlake Conservatory website."
In a series of tweets, Flea revealed that the mostly instrumental EP (which he describes as a "trippy freakout") was recorded in a matter of days following the Chili Peppers' Stadium Arcadium tour that wrapped on August 26, 2007 in Leeds, England. Helen Burns, which finds the multi-instrumentalist playing trumpet, bass, synthesizers, drum machine and piano, bears little resemblance to the Chili Peppers' music: "Warning! It is not a Chili Peppers record," he wrote. "It does not have songs that are like the Chili Peppers at all. It is a mostly instrumental, weird and arty record, the music is mostly just me creating soundscapes that are very emotional for me, but certainly not for everyone! Just me tripping out at home."
Fans can also purchase a limited-edition 180-gram vinyl copy signed by Flea that also includes a piece of one of the bass strings he used on tour. The Chili Peppers, who are currently touring behind their latest album, I'm With You, are set to headline Lollapalooza in Chicago's Grant Park on Saturday, August 4th.