A fresh fusion of electronica and hip hop

I composed these improvised pieces below during a very creative time. I received a large grant for $10,000 from the Arthur Bank Foundation and the American Composers Forum. This very prestigious grant, specified I work with the Boys and Girls Club in Lawrenceville, Georgia, to write and perform their own original works. The final product was their first album as a group, a CD and premiere performance of their hip hop pieces, called Hot Fries.

During this period I started listening to hip hop artists, such as Mr Big and Ludracris, without the words, trying to grab the grooves. I would also listen to VH1, on the radio in the car on the way to the club to stay current. So I would take my melodica and play what I had just heard and have them guess what song it was. This captured their attention.

From this work I used the most current drum loops, at home in my studio, this was reflected in my compositions. Start with drum loop, add a base line, add a synth line, I picked out a poem or phrase for them to read and record over the loops, like Everything is Music.

Then my first musician could hear the loop and read the poem. It was a combination of music and spoken work. I cleaned up  the tracks, Dede Voght would come over and show me how to mix down and record the CD. Spoken word, trumpet, vocals, happy birthday sung by my 80 year old neighbor all over this very sophisticated hip hop track in his creaky voice, which all can be found below.

Talvin Singh, known for creating an innovative fusion of Indian classical music and drum and bass, was an inspiration.

Susan has scored numerous works for radio, television and performance. She is a member of ASCAP and the American Composers Forum.

Susan worked as a consultant for HearMe for Emory University 2008-09, teaching exercise to refugees. Her original music Birdsong is the background music for the exercise video that was completed for this project.

Susan received a major grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Women to write and co-produce a multimedia work for flute, harp, and dancers. In addition to six performances, this piece was taped and aired biweekly for three years by Prime Cable Dekalb (Atlanta area) in 1990. She has also received grants from the Fulton County Arts Council, Georgia Council for the Arts, Bureau of Cultural Affairs (Atlanta) and the Arts Festival of Atlanta.

She completed music for the documentary “The Family Connection” in the spring of 1996.

“Westpoint Lake” was scored for “West Point Lake: Your Lake Year Round” tourism promotional video for the Georgia Conservancy in 1999.

Susan won Marketplace radio’s “What’s Your Score” contest in January 2000 for her arrangement of ‘Stormy Weather’.

In May 2000, she completed scoring music for the documentary “The Chattahoochee: Muddied Waters, Clear Solutions”, produced/directed by Fran Burst of Burst Video/Film for the Georgia Conservancy. Its premiere broadcast was on Sunday, October 29, 2000, at 2:30 on GPTV, Georgia Public Television.

Excerpts from some recent compositions:

  1. Indian Jungle. About this piece, Susan says ” It’s my favorite midi composition currently, I wrote it for fun. It was inspired by the book “Poisonwood Bible” by Barbara Kingsolver.