inFrequently Asked Questions

Why ‘Pbbbt’?

1. Beause I have a great affection for silliness (and sometimes experimental sound stuff can feel a little stuffy).
2. I like that people stumble over the pronunciation / don’t know how to say it.
3. As a head nod to Derrida and his ‘differance-with-an-a’, which asserts the primacy of the written word over the spoken.
4. As a head nod to the great Dada sound poet Kurt Schwitters (who wrote a poem called PPPPPP).
5. To turn my (stage) name into a sound poem.
6. Because I like the idea of blowing a sage (wise) raspberry. Zen has a long and glorious tradition of mixing the profane and ridiculous into meditation teachings and ‘pbbbt’ gets used on the internets as a transcription of blowing a raspberry; though of course the linguolabial trill gets transcribed by linguists as either [r̼] or [ʙ̺].
7. Because Eris told me to. She gifted me this (magickal) name as part of an invocation ritual I performed. Look away now if you don’t want to hear the results.

Why don’t you use the phrase ‘extended vocal technique’?

While the term ‘extended vocal technique’ has much wider usage it seems problematic to me; at best it seems inaccurate—in many traditions such techniques get learnt alongside ‘normal’ singing techniques, or simply as a different way of singing, rather than an extension of regular technique—at worst, it seems Eurocentric, verging on racist to suggest that only western singing, and forms similar to it ‘count as singing’ and then one can optionally add some additions, or extensions, to that language. Michael Edgerton uses the term ‘extra-normal’, which evades some of these problems. It still ‘normalises’ some techniques, but then in all the traditions that I have familiarity with, people recognise that the techniques we wish to describe with these terms differ from other, more widely practiced types of singing. I don’t find that as problematic as asserting the primacy of ‘normal’ singing. And I haven’t come across a better term. I welcome suggestions.

Why do you sometimes spell musick with a ‘k’ on the end?

Well… this chap Aleister Crowley started spelling magick with a ‘k’ at the end to differentiate it from ‘stage magic’. Some folx use this spelling, others don’t. But as a lot of my music has elements of ritual work and/or meditation, and because my ‘sage musick’ project in some sense constitutes a magickal diary, I thought it fitting to spell it ‘musick-with-a-k’. And, you know, I enjoy neologisms and wordplay.

Do you really have a phobia of origami?

Yes. And I feel totally comfortable with people laughing at this—even I find it funny—and it also genuinely freaks me out, no joke.