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Justin Martin & tINI at Highline Ballroom (event review)

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Last weekend the Verboten party brand packed out New York’s Highline Ballroom for the return of Dirtybird co-head Justin Martin alongside Desolat queen Tini. Martin played fittingly to his peak-hour time slot and showcased everything from techno to tech house and even some trap. Tini closed out the evening with her signature deep techno sound that went on into the early hours of the morning. Read on for the full break down of the night.

Some might say last year was a bit of a breakthrough year for the Dirtybird crew. Label mate Eats Everything was Resident Advisor’s highest debut entrant for the 2012 Top 100 poll — entering at an astounding 13th spot. Label founder Claude VonStroke and accomplice Justin Martin were honored with a BBC Radio 1 Essential Selection takeover for dance music commander Pete Tong – a feat more recently delegated to the likes of global superstars Swedish House Mafia and deep house forerunners Jamie Jones and Seth Troxler. It’s not just DJing at which they excel — those who call Dirtybird home are to be reckoned with in the studio as well.

With that being said, I was beyond excited for Justin Martin’s return to New York. His last Verboten booking was at the intimate Sullivan Room, and this time around they upgraded to the bigger and newly renovated Highline Ballroom. I arrived to a rowdy and crowded line as eager partygoers tried to escape the blistering cold and find refuge on the warm and grooving dance floor.

With the release of his Ghettos & Gardens album in May, his production prowess was far beyond solidified. The release of volumes one and two of the remix package, however, further confirmed Justin’s ear for supplementing sounds. Seeing him DJ last weekend demonstrated that he can work a room’s sound system like an instrument and a crowd like a composer to a symphony. Tracks like Dusky’s bass-infused remix to Martin’s “Don’t Go” were an expected and welcomed treat–sounding great on Verboten’s beefed up audio setup. Bro Safari’s “That A$$” stopped me in my tracks as I stood poised and confused. The genre barriers were being blurred but seemed to work without flaw.

Justin Martin – Don’t Go (Dusky Remix)

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Bro Safari – That A$$ (Original Mix)

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The duration of the set included John Roman’s “Petrified” (which samples Method Man’s classic hip-hop anthem “Release Yo’ Delf”) and Martin’s collaboration with Eats Everything on “Harpy.” His set created a separation between the bottom of people’s feet and the floor — commanding the decks in a way that was both beautifully emotive and elegantly unforgiving. But it wasn’t until the closing track of the night when Martin played his rework to Four Tet’s remix of “Small Talk” that the night was an ultimate success. It is quite literally heaven in audio form.

John Roman – Petrified (Original Mix)

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Eats Everything & Justin Martin – Harpy (Original Mix)

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Ultraista – Small Talk (Four Tet Remix) [Justin Martin Rework]

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From 3:00 to 6:00 Tini took over. My last Tini experience was at New York’s Webster Hall where she provided a warm up set to Richie Hawtin and Loco Dice’s Cntrl Tour. This time around she was billed with Justin Martin — who most would agree is on a different wave length. I was intrigued to see how it would come together, but her deep minimal guise played well for the late-night slot. Identifying tracks was a lost cause but I paid that no mind. Martin’s bass-laden tech house followed by Tini’s deep basslined grooves was a testament to Verboten’s booking competence.

View our full gallery of the night here.

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