Album: Opus Spongebobicum
Author: Wedge
Publication: Memory Select: Avant-jazz radio
Date: 4/3/2009

Forty piano variations on the first line of the Spongebob Squarepants theme. The concept is apparently inspired by Beethoven’s Diabelli Variations, for what it’s worth.

It's quite classical-sounding, and you wouldn’t know anything was up were it not for variations like the fourth one, where the theme is in plain sight. After that "Waaaait a minute…" moment, you start being able to pick out the theme in other tracks — No. 30, for instance, features stern low-note hammering for about a minute before decelerating into the theme.

The variety adds to the fun; No. 39 has a “hit single” feel, using rock techniques for an Elton John effect. No. 40 is a cheat; it’s a recording of the inner locked groove on a vinyl record.

I played No. 4 as an easy introduction to the concept, then added No. 34 as further illustration. No. 34 is six seconds long (five, if you don’t count the opening fraction-of-a-second silence) and doesn’t even get through the theme all the way. A very smart-ass trick that just adds to the charm.

Apparently, the CD comes with a sponge. Gotta love that.

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