As a producer, Quezada's tracks have, for the most part, been more rhythmic and functional than the work of his fellow East Coasters. ("Dude's a master percussionist," Levon Vincent said of his friend in 2013.) Maybe it has something to do with Quezada having spent years as a dance teacher while travelling the world, performing for crowds. There's a dark, techy drive at the core of many of Quezada's tracks, which by now number close to 100.
We get nine more on Conjure, Quezada's second LP. Five years on from his debut full-length, Gymnastics, Conjure is a mish-mash of moods and ideas, loosely held together by the same murky overtones that have long been central to Quezada's output. But this isn't a typical album—like so many dance music LPs, Conjure comes off a little incoherent because of tempo shifts and mood changes that aren't skillfully bridged together. There's the token ambient cut ("Candle Lit") and downtempo jam ("Supafly"), thrown in among more original, and club-friendly, tunes. In the right hands, the percussive "Feed Off" and "Toc" would light up a dance floor (both are vintage DJ Qu, a powerful combination of snazzy drums, strange synths and moody vocals).
The rest is less memorable, and doesn't sit well alongside Quezada's more effective cuts. "Get It Till It's Gone" and "Whistle Song" seem overly melodic—and borderline cheesy—compared to Conjure's more straightforward tunes. Similarly, "Lotus" and "Visitation" disrupt the album's flow without offering a notable payoff. Quezada is clearly a talented producer with plenty of ideas at his disposal, but he sells himself short on Conjure. When taken apart, there's a solid 12-inch buried inside, despite not being particularly DJ-friendly in its current state—most tracks are just five minutes long. It's clear this project would've been better off as an EP, free of the forgettable ambient and downtempo workouts that end up as baggage.