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Terra Incognita: Overview

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Terra Incognita Financial District Performance

Genre

Experimental post-punk

History

San Francisco, 1981-1983

In Fall 1980, Max began composing experimental music using samples and primitive overdubbing between two cassette decks.

In February 1981, he invited an eclectic group of artist-musicians from San Francisco and CalArts to join him in a performance at San Francisco's legendary Club Foot, under the name Terra Incognita. The group rehearsed once in Max's basement studio, then performed three hour-long sets at Club Foot to an enthusiastic packed house (see the opening passage of Max's story Loft of Dreams).

A few months later, when Max and SF bandmates established the Terra Incognita loft, other locals joined the group, and they began a weekly practice of improvising and recording experimental music and performance art, occasionally rejoined by CalArts friends, and once making a road trip to CalArts.

Max recorded their twice-weekly 3-4 hour jam sessions at slow speed on a reel-to-reel deck to minimize the interruption of changing tapes. Between sessions, he edited the best parts of each tape, ultimately creating "best of" compilation cassettes from which the group selected the fragments they wanted to turn into compositions. They continued to work on these, re-recording and rehearsing them for live performance.

Their second public performance was the Financial District performance piece; their third was a concert at Laguna Honda County Home, a vast public nursing home and hospital complex founded in 1867.

The group dissolved in Spring 1982, but Max continued to record and occasionally perform with Jon Spayde through 1983.

Personnel

San Francisco contingent:

Max Klein (Carmichael): vocals, guitar, saxophone, banjo, keyboards, drum synth, samples

Jon Spayde: vocals, percussion

Gary Tanner: bass, vocals, keyboards

Mark Twohy: violin

Francesca Jackson: vocals, percussion

Scott Rankin: drums, bass, violin

Betsy Ayers: vocals

Clara Lusardi: drums

Tiare Ferrari: vocals

CalArts contingent:

Mark Norris: vocals, guitar, saxophone

Jim Dougherty: drums

Shana Larsen: vocals

Videos

Photos

Terra Incognita 1981: Gary, Mark & Scott

Gary, Mark & Scott in the TI Loft

Mark Twohy in the TI Loft

Mark in the TI Loft

Terra Incognita Financial District Performance: Gary & Scott

Gary & Scott in the TI Financial District performance

Terra Incognita Financial District Performance: Jon, Gary, Scott & Mark

Jon, Gary, Scott & Mark in the TI Financial District performance

Terra Incognita at Laguna Honda: Max

Max at the TI Laguna Honda County Home performance

Terra Incognita at Laguna Honda: Audience

Audience at the TI Laguna Honda County Home performance

Terra Incognita at Laguna Honda: Mark

Mark at the TI Laguna Honda County Home performance

Terra Incognita at CalArts: Max, Shana, Mark & Jon

Max, Shana, Mark & Jon in TI at CalArts

Terra Incognita at CalArts: Mark, Max & Jon

Mark, Max & Jon in TI at CalArts

Terra Incognita at CalArts: Shana & Max

Shana & Max in TI at CalArts

Terra Incognita 1982: Jon & Max

Jon & Max in Music & Prophecy at the TI Loft

Graphics

Terra Incognita 1981: Max's sketch of Club Foot debut

Max's sketch of Terra Incognita's Club Foot debut in February 1981

Terra Incognita debut poster

Max's poster for the TI debut show

Terra Incognita debut poster

Max's poster for the TI debut show

Terra Incognita Financial District poster

Max's poster for the TI Financial District performance

Terra Incognita poster by Jon

Jon's poster for TI

Terra Incognita poster by Jon

Jon's poster for TI

Terra Incognita poster by Jon

Jon's poster for TI

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