Like kindred one-person acts The Soft Moon and Zola Jesus, Michael Quinn's Corridor both benefits and suffers from having all its ideas stem from a single brain. On one hand, there can be a focus and purity to music created without collaboration or compromise; on the other, writing and recording everything yourself can lead to shortsighted indulgence. Real Late is Corridor's sophomore full-length, and it sees Quinn locked even deeper into his own circular idiosyncrasies: organic loops, monochromatic atmosphere, and foggy whispers. That said, there's an internecine tension to the album that brings up an odd possibility: There may be more than one brain inside Quinn's cranium.
Real Late doesn’t exactly suffer from multiple personality disorder, but it does love to quibble with itself. On songs like “Objective Lens” and “Roam Room,” brittle, ghostly post-punk—New Order's Movement seems to be a major reference point—is shuffled with sparkling, pointillist guitar. Quinn's love of a lesser-known Factory Records pioneer, the ethereal guitarist Vini Reilly of The Durutti Column, is no secret. But Quinn weds these elements jarringly; the delicate yet glaringly prominent guitar doesn't seem to be in the same room, let alone on the same page, with the rest of the music. And his rich, narcotized voice is swept under the whole assemblage like so much dust.
These are the kinds of shortcomings that full bands can usually autocorrect. To his credit, though, Quinn knows how to turn his internal disconnection from weakness to strength. Splattering angular riffs with dark flecks of orchestral backwash, “Rebuilding My Internal World” imagines Pinback gone goth. The guttural glitches of the industrialized “C.I.T.M.” sound like a machine manipulating flesh and blood rather than the other way around. Dreamy yet frantic, piercing yet unhinged, Real Late doesn't always align its components properly. But when it does, it forms a haunted, futurist tribal music—even if it's a tribe of one.