After this past weekend I have an excuse to link to this awesome thing. Finally.
It’s by paper rad, a group of three friends (two in Easthampton, MA and one in Pittsburg) that make awesome art with Flash, wacom pads, and animated GIFs. Their style is so honed, you could spend hours on their website (no, seriously, spend hours on their website). Their live show, billed as Dr. Doo, is amazing too. I saw it in Worcester last Friday as part of the Movies with Live Soundtracks tour, where folks make short movies and play the soundtracks live (see it if it comes near you).
Dr Doo was a robot and human duet. The robot had a TV for a head and a flash animation for a face, and the human (named Ben) was drumming like crazy along to really nice, nintendo-ish synth melodies which, presumably, were coming from the robot. On the movie screen played one of paper rad’s signature narrative-if-you-stretch-your- imagination animations (have you checked out the website yet?), to which the music provided the soundtrack. The whole thing was incredible, hilarious, and uplifting.
My partner Trish went to see them the next night in Easthampton, and asked how much the CDs were. “Two for three dollars” they said. Let’s forget about music industry commentary for a second: selling CDs at 2 for $3 is such good style. They’re down with free culture too, if in a funny, punk, and unusually self-aware sort of way: check out the Tux Dog comic, which comes with an explanation of open source.
Things like paper rad are what makes us so energized about breaking down the barriers that keep independent/DIY music (and art) out of the mainstream.
We’re not pushing for a culture where art like this is in the mainstream; I don’t want to force my favorite art on other people for the same reason I don’t want other people forcing bad music down my throat. We’re pushing for a culture where stuff like this can get in the mainstream–if it’s got what it takes.
Of course, the internet was already making that possible way before Downhill Battle ever started: Get your war on went from website to book tour to Rolling Stone (more on that). But there’s still a long way to go before random kids have the same shot at reaching a mass audience as a veteran TV producer, provided said kids have humor, talent, and their finger on the (or at least a) zeitgeist.
As Downhill Battle approaches the one-year marker, I’m confident to say we’re moving in the right direction, at a pretty quick pace. Battle Torrent would make publishing everyones’ Movies with Live Soundtracks as easy as having a blog, and that’s just the beginning.