The dislocation, dread and flashes of mania that have characterised 2020 require a musical counterpart. Step forward Identified Patient, a capable candidate for this precise moment, who returns to the Dekmantel UFO sub-label after a dormant year for the imprint. “The name of the record,” Identified Patient says, “is how I feel the tracks came out sounding: Nerve Deposit. Not full blast, but still creeping on your nerves.” The five-track EP is an extension of his signature style, a lysergic stew of dark ingredients set to simmer and boil over, one with tasting notes of industrial, electro, breakbeat hardcore and synth-rock. But with the addition of a GRP A4 synthesiser to his set-up, Nerve Deposit signposts new beginnings too. “This is the first result of working toward a new way in the studio,” goes the explanation. “I cannot just hit record and leave it like that any more.”
So what has changed? Nerve Deposit raises as many questions as it does answers. The opening “Low Kust” is a red herring, a ‘fuck off’ expressed both musically and, through a sampled voice, literally. It is the most feral and jagged tune of the Identified Patient catalogue to date, carrying a certain amount of dubstep disobedience, with a cat-and-mouse chase for the listener to stay on tempo. The echoes of breakbeat become louder on “Secretary,” which is reminiscent of the head-trip jungle/hardcore of Eat Life and A Guy Called Gerald. It is a fitting number for the UFO label, as the swarming effects give the sensation of a literal UFO hovering menacing overhead. “Lust Mountain” rounds off the A-side with a constantly bubbling laboratory’s worth of stop-start drum programming, bleep synths and raking textures that suggests we are in the court of a Professor, not a Patient.
On the flip, “Visualize It” is a more direct gallop of frazzled 4am electro, but here the subtle progressions in Identified Patient’s sound are evident. A neon trance riff even briefly creeps into view before the churning synth lead thumps back in. For Identified Patient, this balance of light and dark presents “anger without the fight, going full-on and then taking a step back, always giving and teasing.” We get a final dose of this on “Territory Doubt,” a slab of throbbing industrial sleaze with wobbling effects that grow louder with each rhythmic pause. Even as the EP cools off, it still stalks shadowy hallways with purpose, a reminder of the satisfying complexities of Identified Patient’s upgrade. “I got a kick out of a fresh way of creation,” Patient concludes. “Less jamming, more arranging and building. These are artefacts of the process that will be fun to observe in years to come. It’s the start of a long journey, but I’m confident that I am getting closer to the sound that I have in mind.” Nerve Deposit scales new heights for Identified Patient, and tantalisingly suggests the best may still be yet to come.