California Sounds: Daedelus crafts a wonder of animation, the Lemon Twigs do Hollywood and Christian Rich chop and dice

Alfred Darlington
Alfred Darlington, a.k.a. Daedelus.
(Laura Darlington / Magical Properties)

Daedelus, “Special Re:Quest” video (Magical Properties). Those pressed to pick a single Los Angeles beat producer whose work carved the way for the city’s thriving experimental beat scene might nominate Alfred “Daedelus” Darlington.

An artist whose collaborations and communal efforts since his first recordings in 2001 have connected otherwise distinct communities, Darlington’s mostly instrumental beat music has reveled at the intersection of handcrafted analog sound and new technology.

Over the years he’s worked with stellar imprints including Brainfeeder, anticon and Ninja Tune, but has taken the reins and put out his new album, “Labyrinths,” on his own Magical Properties imprint. 


The record’s dozen tracks feature collaborations with a roster of mostly Los Angeles-based musicians including Teebs, Busdriver, Seven Davis Jr. and singer Laura Darlington (who is married to the producer). Structurally sophisticated and filled with inventive technique, the artist long ago put in his 10,000 hours and it shows.

For the remarkable new video for his track “Special Re:Quest,” Darlington teamed with artist Drew Tetz to craft a miracle of bespoke animation. Tetz works with what are called phenakistoscopes to enliven series of images, and for the video he created circular versions that fit on turntables. When the turntable is activated, the images come to life like the stop-motion work of Eadweard Muybridge.

The Lemon Twigs, “As Long as We’re Together” (4AD). The Lemon Twigs are from Long Island, N.Y., which should disqualify them from mention in the geographically defined California Sounds.

Yet there they stand on the cover of their new album, “Do Hollywood,” two teenage rockers on the side of the Hollywood Freeway. They’re pointing at a Highway 101 sign as though their mom just dropped them at the Cahuenga exit, shook her head and wished them luck. 


The Hollywood that the Lemon Twigs inhabit is from the Rodney Bingenheimer era, when he held court at his English Disco and the glam-rockers and the acid-addled took over in the early 1970s.

You can see that spirit in their recent video for “As Long as We’re Together,” shot in the desert with tongue confidently in cheek.

Too young to be addled, the Twigs were co-founded by brothers Brian and Michael D’Addario, and on “Do Hollywood” they teamed with Jonathan Rado of Los Angeles avant-rock band Foxygen to craft a schizophrenic ode to AM radio hits. 

How, exactly, the Lemon Twigs “do Hollywood” on the album isn’t evident in the lyrics, which don’t mention Southern California at all. Rather, their vision is of an archetype, a vibe, one that involves a stab against all odds at fame and its rewards. And impressive leg-kicks.

Christian Rich, “Saint Mary” EP (Good Luck Chuck). Another set of brothers, twins Taiwo and Kehinde Hassan, inhabit downtown Los Angeles and draw from its contemporary energy as the production team Christian Rich.

Best known for their work for rappers including Drake, Earl Sweatshirt, J. Cole and Childish Gambino, on their new mostly instrumental EP “Saint Mary” the pair tap strange, minimal tones to create beat music aching to be harnessed for rhyming. 


On “Runaway,” they chop and dice a female voice into a series of melodic syllables until all meaning is supplanted with unspoken emotion. For “Lights” they loop a series of complicated piano and acoustic guitar samples to create propellant, bass-driven energy. Combined, the pair are dissecting rhythms with funky precision. 

Follow Randall Roberts on Twitter for all your California music needs: @liledit

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