"A Natural History" is a compiled text based on journal entries from two different visits to northern Nevada's Black Rock Desert combined with margin notes from my copies of William Fox's The Void, The Grid and The Sign
and Sessions Wheeler's Nevada's Black Rock Desert
. At some point in my process of arranging, editing, and composing the text toward its finished form (whenever that may occur), the idea of arranging the piece for a three-part vocal performance came to me. I recruited two students of mine whose voices I liked, and we got together to try it out. The "live" performance of the piece worked okay, but sounded a little like church. In production, as I was working to combine various takes, I came to like the mechanical quality that the multi-vocal production brought to the piece. I decided to pursue that mechanical quality, which seemed a little futuristic, but not out of place with the expansive time scale I'd always imagined for "A Natural History." After a couple of long sessions of concentrated work on the audio, this version resulted. I like it, and hope you will.
A Natural History
Read the poem in Issue 001.
: The printed version and the audio version diverge in some ways. William Stobb is a self-described “hopeless tinkerer” whose poems continue to evolve into the poem of the moment, not the poem of a past moment.