Britain’s best known sound poet is Bob Cobbing, but it’s hard to come up with a list of other sound poets working in Britain in the 60’s and 70’s. It’s equally difficult to think of any female sound poets working anywhere. Lily Greenham was Danish, but spent her childhood in Vienna. After several relocations across Europe she settled in London in 1972 with her British husband (musician and poet Peter Greenham), where she lived until her death in 2001. Nearly all of her own writings and compositions date from after her arrival in London, but prior to her arrival in London she had been involved in two major European art movements. In the late 50’s she had been an active member of the early Wienner Gruppe, performing in their wild experimental theatre works and reciting the new poetry of young artists like Gerhard Rühm, Konrad Bayer and A.C. Hartmann, but before the Wienner Gruppe had established itself as the important art movement it was to become, she had moved on and changed her working practice.
In 1964 she was back in Paris for a second time, but this time she was working as a visual artist specialising in optical art. She was soon directly involved in group shows with the ‘Groupe de Recherche d’Art Visuel’. For the second time she was at the centre of an emerging art movement that was exploring new ground, but predictably enough she moved on. Once in London she began to record her own text based compositions that used a mixture of sound poetry techniques, electronics and multi-tracking. The term ‘lingual music’ that she coined for her compositions refers to her technique of using tape loops of text to create complex and dense musical structures. Her most well known composition in this style is ‘Relativity’, which was made in 1974 in collaboration with the Radiophonic Workshop at the BBC. She also worked with quite a few musicians, both via the early LMC network in London, but also on an international scene. A list of musicians she worked with includes John Tchicai, Wolfgang Dauner, Bob Downes, Barry Guy, Hugh Davies, Max Eastley and Peter Cusack.
This 2CD set compiles a wide variety of her own work, including live solo performaces, film soundtrack pieces, as well as many tape pieces. There are also examples of her performing works by Cobbing, Rühm and other sound poets, as well as recordings of her work with Bob Downes Open Music. The recordings date from between 1968 and 1984.