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If Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade

  • Artists Noze, Riva Starr, Jesse Rose, Balkan Beat Box, Trim
  • Release Date 2010-02-08
  • Labels Made To Play
  • Catalog MTPCD003
  • Description Claude VonStroke - "When Riva goes deep he is one of the best producers on the planet."

    Jesse Rose: - "My bet for the producer that makes the most impact in 2010, you have been warned."
    A mezcla best served with a cold glass of lemonade, this is your first essential dance album of 2010.

    Riva Starr is a name that should be very familiar to anyone with an interest in modern house music. Having shot to the top after a string of head turning releases and remixes on some of the most talked about labels (Made To Play, Dirtybird, Kindisch, Southern Fried), Riva Starr couldnt be hotter right now. Whats quite remarkable though is how quickly Stefano Miele, aka Riva Starr has established himself so prominently on a DJ/producer circuit thats notoriously difficult to break into. It doesnt hurt that Claude VonStroke and Jesse Rose, the two men who sit on top of the pile, happen to be two of his biggest fans.

    So, how did the man from Naples rise from unknown to major player in just 2 years? Well, the truth is that Stef is no newcomer to making music, in fact hes been producing and releasing a wide-range of sounds under different guises for the past 10 years, including 2 albums. Like all good producers hes earned his stripes and his current status is down to two things, hard work and talent. Oh and the World Wide Web of course. Thats right, like so many successful new musicians today, Riva Starr is big on the blogs and its exactly here, giving free music away that Stef was able to not only test-run new material but also form an army of loyal and excited fans before he had even released a record.

    With a love of reinventing any music that inspires him, Stef uses the term Snatch! as a way of describing his bootleg remix style of snatching/pick pocketing other music styles for his own. Its also a play on words with the type of folk/Balkan/rock music he draws inspiration from, often carrying that gypsy spirit (something that could also be said about the millions of people who file share online everyday). Having given away a number of widely praised and blogged Snatch! mixes online (his recent remix of The End by The Doors has well over 10,000 downloads on Discobelle alone), it wasnt too long before some of them found their way into the DJ sets of some of the biggest names on the circuit. Two of those DJs were Jesse Rose and Claude VonStroke, who both approached Stef for official releases on their labels after witnessing the amazing crowd reaction for his Snatch! remixes, since then theres been no looking back. Having doted up his first two releases for Claudes Dirtybird and Jesses Front Room in 2007, he followed these up with another two for them in 2008 as well as two more for Fatboy Slims famous Southern Fried Records and a 12 on Kindisch, the more techy sub-label of the brilliant Get Physical label in Berlin. As well as remixing the likes of The Gossip, Derrick Carter, KC Flight and Fatboy Slim and seeing his DJ bookings go through the roof (if you want Stef to play at your club, youll currently be waiting 6 months), hes managed to rewrite the rules on how to establish yourself as an International DJ/producer.

    Like all the great names in dance music the Riva Starr sound is very distinctive, with fans as wide-ranging as Tiesto, Carl Cox, Ricardo Villalobos and Annie Mac, he manages to make high quality accessible house music that unites many different styles and DJs. Hes always described it as Snatch although it was his good friend Laidback Luke that recently described his style as Mezcla, a universal Spanish word thats used to describe a mixture of different things that seems to aptly apply to Stefs music with his World influences and eclectic beats. Youll hear throughout the album, but mainly on the first single I Was Drunk, Bulgarian Chicks and Black Cat, White Cat, that Stef draws inspiration from the Balkan music scene, an area of music thats always been a personal interest. He shows his depth of knowledge by using the brilliant Noze on I Was Drunk, as well as showcasing his self-edited video that uses footage from Balkan director Kusturica (over 40,000 hits on YouTube and counting). The single has already gained great support at Radio 1, although the Balkan sound is just one style that Riva Starr is associated with and throughout the album youll hear many twists and turns as it progresses, providing you with that true Mezcla experience.

    Across the If Life Makes You Lemons, Make Lemonade LP youll also find Stef paying homage to other greats of jazz, Detroit techno, Chicago house, electronica and his love of cinema soundtracks and Latin beats. Despite all these styles theres a real spirit of boompty house running throughout the album, reminiscent of early Derrick Carter productions, a sound that Jesse Rose knows all about having cut his teeth on Derricks Classic Recordings in the late 90s. Like Derrick Carter, all of Stefs productions have that feeling of individual character and he knows when to approach a track with a serious dancefloor sound but more importantly he doesnt shy away from including humour and making a track fun, which should be celebrated!

    Other collaborations on the album include the amazing Balkan Beat Box on Bulgarian Chicks (co-produced with Jesse) and the heavy vocal talent that is Trim on Dance Me. That track shows exactly why this album is so eclectic with Stef deciding to take a much more gritty, urban approach fusing together a low-slung bass groove with Trims grimy vocals, reminiscent of early Roots Manuva. And on a more dancefloor tip youll recognise the Latin-infused Maria that has received an overwhelming amount of support since its single release on Kindisch last year, a proven floorfiller.

    Its fair to say that Riva Starr shows all his influences across the album with the final track Tribute giving a firm nod of respect towards the likes of Derrick May, Carl Craig and the other originators of Detroit Techno, which works perfectly to close what is without doubt one of the most anticipated dance albums of 2010.

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