At the end of the year, we all look back differently. Daniel Kim, a Vancouver-based part-time composer and DJ (he also works in retail), likes to view the year in pop as a Vitamix would: in tiny pieces. Each year since 2010, he has blended as many of the year’s hits as he can into a single non-stop track. Over the five and a half minutes of this year’s Pop Danthology, Kim chops up and reorganizes no less than 68 familiar hits into something that’s both relentlessly new and nostalgic for the year that’s ending.
He tells NPR’s Morning Edition that when he’s making his mixes, he likes to hear the songs act out a call and response: Hooks and riffs fly by in a blur. Miley gets her bass line tangled with Lorde. Justin Timberlake‘s “Suit And Tie” tumbles past on a modified dance beat. The Pharrell Williams in Daft Punk‘s “Get Lucky” croons while the Pharrell Williams in Robin Thicke‘s “Blurred Lines” yelps ad libs.
It takes a lot of time and planning to create something that emphasizes ephemerality, but for Kim, the rush is the point. “I can’t stand music that progresses slowly, entertainment that progresses slowly,” he says. “So making a mash-up is like putting together this huge, huge puzzle. Getting just all the best parts and putting them together in a way that the listener doesn’t have to just endure through boring filler parts, but they can get just the best pieces of everything.”