Through the mid-'00s, Austin, TX's Red Hunter hid in the edges of the rising "freak folk" genre. At first blush, his band Peter and the Wolf fit in with the likes of early Animal Collective, as his lo-fi singer-songwriter fare was backed by a ragtag, acoustic gang of rotating stoners. But his work often proved more childlike than freakish, because Hunter's nasal baritone sang the kind of simple, sad stories you'd expect from a Daniel Johnston fan.
As such, Hunter seemed content to dabble as an underappreciated, genre-agnostic folkster. This year, he's reinvented himself with a far clearer artistic vision--and, if this video's any indication, a new knack for sloppy cross-dressing. Now going by the name Traffique, Hunter employs synthesizers, drum machines, and backing choirs to put his own hazy spin on the rising chillwave genre, as if the Afro-beat sounds of Dirty Projectors were doped up with painkillers. The lead single from Traffique's Endless Weekend Mixtape, "Nora," benefits from a stripped-down production, as its three major elements--fuzzy synth tones, squeaky vocals, and a shimmering ukelele--hover in open space like wispy, cirrus clouds. The phrase Hunter repeatedly coos here is fitting: "oh, just a little electric."
On iTunes: Traffique / "Nora"