digifae Review 


Galen Tipton and Diana Starshine complement each so well on digifae, it seems like a match made in heaven. Galen has already accomplished so much so far in her career, from starting her own label with community garden, to guiding the budding hyperpop scene back in 2020 with her project recovery girl. Diana, who has been a constant  collaborator of Galen’s and hyperpop playlist mainstay, artfully arranges vocal harmonies on the opening track of digifae, lava, which morphs abruptly from minimal FM bells to a growling epic bassline.

I had to go back and double check that the song didn’t change, and then it became obvious that this was going to be a special avant-pop record. 

Making water sounds, bells, and flutes presumably from scratch is impressive, but Galen’s twist on standard plucks and more commonplace rave sounds is just as refreshing. She is often praised for her prodigal sound design and mixing ideas, however, Galen really is a songwriter more than a pure ‘sound design’ artist. The way she controls the energy of the songs convinces me that she isn’t just another extremely skilled producer, but more of an architect or collage artist, bringing sounds inspired by nature and fantastical soundscapes into focus by juxtaposing them with breakdowns and dance-in-your-bedroom sections of melody.

Diana wraps Galen's beautiful structures with ideas of unrequited love, relationships and grounded insights into love and affection and breakups. Diana has always been a versatile vocalist, and she has a habit of bringing out the best elements of a track while still being the focal point of the song. On the track look on your face, she laments “being replaced” by her lover, and Galen feeds into this nervous energy by chopping up her vocals over a minimal Jersey Club style beat reminiscent of a cursed daria-core song. 

Digifae aesthetically plays with ideas of love in the digital age, nature, and the fantastical. Flowers is a high point of the album that really exemplifies the motifs and ideas of contrast they are trying to get across. Diana sings, I cried a lot and we never even started. Tear me apart and bury me in the garden. Tear drops falling everytime we parted. Flowers blossom, now I’m broken hearted. A throaty 303 bassline looms in the background and the scene changes, and she realized she had been taken advantage of to the tune of saw waves and halftime breakdowns. Galen flexes her vocal technique later on the track over a dark section, growling and howling over thumping kicks and deep bass plucks. Then the song fades to atmospheric wind chimes and vibraphones over some foley that evokes a hidden oasis in the woods. 

The two present a songwriting form that evolves over time from highs and lows, and compliment it with the story of a tumultuous relationship. Overall a great listen for the sounds alone, and the vocals add a melancholic pang that contrasts with the dramatic songwriting.