The S.L.P. is the latest project by Sergio Lorenzo Pizzorno, the songwriter and creative force behind Kasabian. The instant “Nobody Else” throws his rulebook out the door, for a breezy, memorable, roll-down-the-car-windows exploration that’s perfect piano ballad meets sun-kissed house.
“I’ve been making a new Kasabian album every couple of years since 2004, I have my routines and I have the way I like to work, and I just think I felt I needed a re-set, so that I could approach the next Kasabian album from a different place. It’s so important, that innocence of just exploring and experimenting, when you’ve got that little part of you going ‘can I get away with that?’ When you ask yourself that, you’re probably on the right track, because it means you’re doing something interesting. It’s like the album cover, I’ve got this mad glitter make up on, but it’s spread all my face like you would when you were a kid – it reminds you that playing is important.” –Sergio Lorenzo Pizzorno (S.L.P.)
The thing is, says Sergio Pizzorno, he didn’t intend to make an album like SLP at all. After he finished touring behind 2017’s “For Crying Out Loud” – Kasabian’s fifth number one album in a row – he simply liked the idea of doing a solo record.
He thought that his solo album would sound… well, like you might think a Sergio Pizzorno solo album would sound. He is, after all, famed not only as Kasabian’s chief songwriter, but a man dedicated to pushing esoteric influences – from MF Doom to Bulgarian psychedelia to avant-garde electronica – into the sonic framework of a mainstream, stadium-filling rock band. A solo album, you could reasonably expect, would be a chance for Pizzorno to let his freak flag fly, unencumbered by the need to make music fit to headline festivals and huge gigs.
“To begin with, I thought it was going to be way more experimental and I thought it was going to be way more odd in terms of the length of tracks and what people, even myself would maybe expect: going more into that sci-fi, Krautrock kind of thing,” says Pizzorno. “But what I found happening was that I was listening to a lot of Tyler The Creator and Mac Miller. I was in that world. I sort of got rid of all my synths and guitars and just sort of had phones and laptops and just picked out sounds. And it turned out like it did, and I thought it just felt right. In a way, it’s probably a bit more of a psychedelic move for me to do this than just to make the record I expected.”
In fact, it’s fair to say that SLP isn’t an album that anyone could anticipate: an intriguing, unprecedented split between filmic instrumentals – audibly partly inspired by Roy Budd’s iconic soundtrack to the 1970 British gangster flick Get Carter – and richly melodic songs influenced by hip hop and grime.
“I just liked the idea of that cartoonish sort of thing, you know: ‘meanwhile, in the Batcave…’,” Pizzorno continues. “People see me in a band, they think: that’s what does and that’s what he is, so the idea behind them is that meanwhile, he’s completely someone else, doing this other thing. And in between them, it was just a matter of exploring, turning everything up, just to see where it took me: experimenting with the way I sang, with different rhythms, with things that I’ve always wanted to do.”