Dilute – Hella + Dilute (Disc 1)

4 out of 5

Label: Sickroom

Produced by: Dilute (recorded by)

This is a 2-CD set that, wouldn’t ya know, contains one disc of Dilute live and one disc of Hella live.  …After mulling over my thoughts on Hella and drummer Zach Hill, I’ve circled back around to not really being interested in Hella, so my ears hath been spared trying to decipher disc 2 of this set to write up a more comprehensive review.  Thus, I’m only reviewing the Dilute portion, so nyah.

Spared the sorta-maybe-kinda narrative of Grape Blueprints Pour Spinach Olive Grape and the album-filling stretch of Gypsy Valentine Curve, Dilute’s first live recording is possibly one of their best end-to-end listening experiences, drawing select cuts from Blueprints and including a couple new songs (Balloon Song, Sold) that bring together the best of their scribbly-scrabbly improv guitar squiggles and freakout rockout moments.  What’s cool is to hear how accurately they execute this stuff live, meaning it’s not all scribbly-scrabbly improv, and Marty Anderson’s emotive warble is in full effect as well.  The live recording is a bit tinny (it sounds like a demo), but we can hear each instrument well enough, and the crowd hooting after a particularly devastating guitar sweep adds to the appeal.

Simply by rearranging the order of tracks we’ve heard and slimming down to some comparatively focused compositions, Dilute’s (and *cough* Hella’s) live disc becomes a valuable addition to a woefully tiny Dilute library.