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Terra Incognita: Overview

TI 1981-1983

TI 1984-1988

TI 1988

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Terra Incognita 1984-1988 Previous | Next
Terra Incognita 1984-1988

Genre

Alternative folk (electric string band)

History

San Francisco, 1984-1988

In 1984, Max switched from the free-form improvised compositions of early TI to deliberate songwriting in a consistent style. He resumed working with TI fiddler Mark Twohy to create a distinctive new sound using electric guitar and electric violin, featuring Mark's unique plucking style with a guitar pick mounted on his bow. Max's guitar style originated in bluegrass flatpicking and his phrases and arrangements were inspired by Nigerian juju music.

In 1985, bassist and songwriter Katie Rauh joined the group, and Terra Incognita became an alternative folk power trio, with all three members contributing and leading songs. They trained themselves to play complex instrumental parts, in polyrhythmic counterpoint with their vocals, while singing – a challenge few other musicians attempt. As a result, they became a "musician's" band that other musicians gravitated towards.

This band performed continuously until early 1988, in nearly every venue in San Francisco, both headlining and billed alongside national acts such as Camper Van Beethoven, Flaming Lips, American Music Club, and Brave Combo. The band recorded numerous demos and an album, 1987, which has only recently been released; their version of the traditional song Rank Stranger was included on Ralph Records' 1987 compilation album Potatoes. The Village Voice called TI's recording "the album's standout", and it has been credited with inspiring the alt-country movement of 90s bands such as Uncle Tupelo, Wilco and The Old 97's.

On the strength of the Voice review, TI toured to New York City and headlined at The Knitting Factory, which had just established itself as the premier venue for new music.

Personnel

Max Klein (Carmichael): vocals, electric guitar, electric bass

Katie Rauh: vocals, electric bass

Mark Twohy: vocals, electric violin

Supporting musicians:

John Walker: electric bass

Benjamin Bossi: saxophone

Laurie Phillips: coyote howls

Press

Terra Incognita 1984-1988 Calendar Magazine

Terra Incognita 1984-1988 Village Voice

Terra Incognita 1984-1988 Los Angeles Times

Recordings

Terra Incognita 1987 album cover

Videos

Photos

Terra Incognita New Year's Eve 1985

Katie, Max & Mark play New Year's Eve 1985 at SF's VIS Club, later the Kennel Club and The Independent

Terra Incognita 1984-1988

Mark, Max & Katie on the roof of the TI Loft

Terra Incognita 1984-1988

Terra Incognita 1984-1988

Max, Katie & Mark at the TI Loft

Terra Incognita 1984-1988

Terra Incognita 1984-1988

Terra Incognita 1984-1988

Max, Katie & Mark pretending to be Young Marble Giants

Terra Incognita 1984-1988

Max, Katie & Mark in Golden Gate Park

Terra Incognita at Knitting Factory 1987

Mark, John, Max & Katie at the original Knitting Factory on Houston Street in New York City

Songbook

Terra Incognita Songbook

Download the Terra Incognita Songbook

Graphics

Terra Incognita promo photo 1985

TI's original promotional photo

Terra Incognita poster

Poster by Max

Terra Incognita poster

Poster by Katie

Terra Incognita poster

Poster by Max

Terra Incognita poster

Poster by Max

Terra Incognita poster

Poster by Max & Katie

Terra Incognita poster

Poster by Max & Katie

Terra Incognita poster

Poster by Max & Katie

Terra Incognita poster

Terra Incognita poster

Poster by Max

Terra Incognita poster

Poster by Max & Katie

Terra Incognita poster

Poster by Katie

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