Thursday, 23 June 2016

Homer Simpson and the D'oh-Boys Choir, 1995.

Blogging music is hard! With a visual art topic, you can just park your eyes in front of it for a minute and write about what you see and what it makes you think of. Whatever you write, the reader can immediately confirm for themselves! If you write about a song, however, any reference to a payoff at the end demands the viewer listen to the song all the way through just to see if they agree with you. In short, it's slower. So while I've known that I wanted to blog up this old song just about since beginning this blog a year and a half ago, I've prioritized it beneath more instant appeals such as a seemingly endless litany of ANSI art. It only surfaces now since I've voluntarily adopted a policy of alternating ANSI posts with entries on other topics, and of course since Pitchfork has just published its piece on SIMPSONWAVE it will never again be timelier than it is at this moment. (If I was thinking clearly I'd have bundled this up in last week's discussion of BARTBLND.)

So on April Fool's Day, 1993, Fox aired So It's Come to This: A Simpsons Clip Show (9F17) in their 4th season. In addition to numerous other gags, it included a montage sequence compiling a wide and varied selection of Homer Simpson's "D'oh" exclamations from the second and third season -- no fewer than 32 of them. At this liminal moment on the technological frontier, some genius digitized the audio track of the sequence, and it merrily circulated in a most postmodern fashion, bereft of any context or, indeed, meaning. For kicks, I assigned it as my family's Windows 3.11 shutdown sound -- slowing down the process considerably -- and for my troubles, I found the computer bedecked with a Printshop tractor feed dot matrix printer banner proclaiming my computer access temporarily revoked due to pranksterism.

Sami "PrOtoCol" Tammilehto of ACiD spent a little longer considering what was to be done before coming up with quite a more compelling application for these annoyed grunts. It was a painfully true cliche that audio samples from movies and TV were the tail that wagged the dog of lousy tracker music, like the medieval practice of masking the flavour of rotting food with inappropriate superdoses of strong spices, but their gratuitous overuse didn't necessarily apply 100% of the time... you can consider this track the virtuous 1 percent that broke through the cliche. The striking composition travels through several movements in a well-considered fashion, and would be compelling even in the absence of its raison d'etre (though that might make its closing drum roll somewhat perplexing.) The highest praise I can extend it is that it survives a detour through a tropical steel-drum mini-arrangement of Bobby McFerrin's 1988 mega-hit Don't Worry Be Happy. Because PrOtoCol was a fellow member (represent!) of ACiD (I, uh, should assume that everyone will appreciate the significance there: first major group of the PC underground artscene, first major ANSI art group, remained to a certain extent pre-eminent over everything that followed until the scene as a whole largely dried up by the end of the century) he also figured out a way to use silent samples to provide an animated textmode signature appear in the song's introduction when played in a music tracker program. Truly every aspect of this creation is polished precisely as far as it can be without running the risk of feeling baroque or ostentatious. I dare say people will still be enjoying the D'oh Boys Choir after they have long since forgotten SIMPSONWAVE. So now, without further ado, I present... the song!

And its sample messages:


      homah simpson
    da doh-boyz choir


/c/ 8/1995 PrOtoCoL (ACiD)

samples are borrowed from
who knows.  "don't worry,
be happy" music by bobby
mcferrin.  all da rest by
PrOtoCoL.  play at risk to
your own sanity.  composed
on screamtracker v3.21 by
sami tammilehto.  by the
way, homer really says 32
consecutive "dohs" in the

orders 1-12: homer's theme

orders 13-19: homer sings
  the blues
orders 20-25: homah & da
  boyz quartet
orders 26-28: homer's
  32-doh solo
 you may not be able to see
    the intro animation
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