Future Backward: Uptown resident releases unsettling CD


Sir Isaac Newton said, “To any action there is always an opposite and equal reaction.” With that in mind the inherently dark nature of Helena Thompson’s recent CD release would probably make most people wonder what sort of experience has caused her to generate such a thick brooding CD. But Thompson, a firefighter by profession, hasn’t created this music entitled “Body Misses,” in response to any personal life trauma.

“Yah, I’ve had those traumatic experiences, but I still consider myself lucky so I don’t talk about it,” said Thompson.

Instead Thompson may be tapping into some of her interior subconscious. Emotionally flexible, she’s exploring an energy that perhaps few of us would care to escort through our imagination.

Prior to forming her group Purest Spiritual Pigs, Helena worked as a solo artist and as a drummer in several bands in Providence, New York and San Francisco. The most successful of these bands (Her Majesty The Baby), drew significant attention in the San Francisco Bay area during the 90s. Her Majesty The Baby worked with producer Lenny Kaye (former guitarist of The Patti Smith Group), played SXSW, SF Battle Of The Bands and opened for several major acts such as: PJ Harvey, Fugazi, The Pixies and Throwing Muses. Thompson confesses to singing Patty Smith songs alone in her room as a child. Later she would be influenced by Led Zeppelin, Sex Pistols, Jane’s addiction, Bauhaus, Joy Division and Swans.

If the music spectrum could be be broken down to three rough groups the first group would be audience driven pop appeal. The second would be a combination of artist creation with potential audience fine tuning. The third group would be that last group of artists that just produce purely for their own expression. They’re not so concerned about becoming famous or pleasing a large crowd but create purely as an end in itself. This is where you’ll come across Thompson’s music. It’s not high end production or smoothly marketed fashionable melodies. But you will know that it’s produced by one artist with a consistent musical theme.

If Tom Waits creates music from what sounds and feels like found objects that immediately grounds you in the past, then Thompson creates music with instruments that have bean hijacked and repurposed for her own sound. It’s hard to find a clear description for the music’s quality of sound. To call it tribal would be simplistic. In fact the end result is probably not to be described as future-forward music for a post Armageddon world but more precisely future-backward. It’s something you might find in the world created by the Mad Max film trilogy. She’s taken the instruments of the contemporary industrial complex and turned them inside out and back on themselves.

Track two, “You Inspire Me” wins the award on the CD for the most piercing lyrics.

“I learned a lot from you. I learned a lot about what not to do. You inspire me. You inspire me to be just like you are not.”

And without a doubt this track and track 2, “Damn” are those kinds of tracks that are rhythmically strong. They’re the kinds of tracks that run through your veins and supercharge your adrenaline.

Track 11, “FPNOP PPL” will probably make most of you immediately reach for the stop button. But this instrumental is best summed up as a soundtrack to Dante’s Inferno. The lyrics are not discernible but by the way the instruments, I’ll say “collide,” it creates the feeling of cognitive dissonance down to your core.

To find out more or to listen for yourself visit www.purestspiritualpigs.com or purestspiritualpigs on  www.myspace.com