While Elliot Racine’s 2010 debut, The 8-Track Recordings, was a delightfully disorganized collection of raw improvisations, his second album finds the musician taking a more deliberate approach. Too Fascinatingly Human is a professionally recorded, carefully composed, and thematically cohesive collection of songs – but it’s still characterized by the same intimacy, playfulness, and commitment to experimentation that stood out in Racine’s first effort.
Too Fascinatingly Human illustrates the weird and wild reality of living in the universe as a human being, and its eclectic nature indicates its success in reflecting life’s tremendously rich and varied array of experience. “Dance in the Burning Flood” starts as a simple chant driven by a diverse chorus of percussion instruments – from the Native American corn rattle to the Tibetan tingsha – and grows into a jazz improvisation with the introduction of a bass clarinet. In contrast, “Technology,” a fast and frenetic commentary on the role technology plays in our lives, is composed with only voice and computer.
“I’ll Be Happy When I See My Good Friend” is a joyful, pastoral conversation between bass and guitar, while “Common Theme” sets spoken-word lyrics to a driving drumbeat and an insistent rattle – and finally resolves into a guitar jam. “Green Morning” revisits the combination of chaotic percussion and jazz themes that was introduced in “Dance in the Burning Flood.” It’s followed by “Waiting Between Tides,” a relationship ballad bathed in the warmth of two vintage organs.
Too Fascinatingly Human includes two discs: Disc one is the album in its final form, and disc two contains early versions of six songs. Hearing Racine’s first attempts at these tracks gives the listener a peek into his creative process – the perfect finishing touch to an album that’s all about being human.