Riva Starr - If Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade
Mon 15th Mar, 2010 Music Reviewsin
Riva Starr, aka Stefano Miele, took the electro house world by storm throughout 2009 with a series of electrifying remixes and original tunes. His remixes of the Gossip’s Love Long Distance and Duck Sauce’s I Like It were dancefloor anthems, appearing on dance compilations worldwide including own One Love Sound Machine collection. To say his debut album If Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade come highly anticipated would be an understatement.
This debut album draws influences from world music as wide-reaching as gypsy, boogaloo, Balearic, Caribbean, and Balkan. The world influences are upfront and feature prominently on over half of the 11 tracks on the album, rendering several of them frustratingly unlistenable, and certainly not dancefloor-friendly.
Why do so many leading producers and DJs insist on doing this on their albums? Perhaps the scene moves so fast that it’s impossible for one person to create an album full of relevant sounds, so they include a few out-of-leftfield that they couldn’t use on the dancefloor or release as singles?
Starr has managed to generate 43 minutes of album here, notably shorter than what us dance fans are used to getting on a stacked 80-minute compilation. He’s also avoided the cheap trick of including multiple remixes. In the case of If Life Gives You Lemons…, several of the tunes would – and may still – be enlivened by the remix treatment, either by Riva Starr himself or another producer. The opener I Was Drunk and its almost-identical twin Black Cat White Cat are likely candidates. The best tunes are distinctly reminiscent of other legendary dance producers, Josh Wink, Tiga ( China Gum ), Underworld ( Tribute ) and even Miguel Migs.
I can’t help but liken this album to earlier attempts by Carl Cox; where a superb remixer and DJ doesn’t quite make the cut as an album artist. Riva Starr will continue to dominate this year, thanks to new remixes, compilations (his Defected in the House collection is out now), and of course DJ sets worldwide, but this album won’t go down as one of the greats of the year.
If Life Gives you Lemons, Make Lemonade is out now on Onelove/Sony.