Jana Rush Dark Humor Planet Mu
Since her emergence in mid-90s Chicago, Jana Rush has surfed ever closer to the darker edges of electronic music, taking the conventions of genres like footwork and pushing them towards murky and uncomfortable places.
That’s still the case on Dark Humor, her new seven-track EP and the follow-up to 2021’s Painful Enlightenment, which dealt candidly with her experience of mental illness. This record inhabits similar sonic and emotional territory, boldly exploring a perilous state of mind. It begins with a remix of Painful Enlightenment’s Suicidal Ideation, a disorienting track that crackles with delayed snares and snippets of evil laughter, and which refuses to settle into anything even approaching a discernible beat.
Other tracks, such as a remix of Break It, from 2017’s Pariah, are more rhythmically straightforward – but even they meander off in odd directions, with chirpy vocal cuts sitting awkwardly on top of brooding beats. Lonely, featuring DJ Paypal, continues to build on the theme of isolation, but tempers it with a fidgety, restless energy. Filled with distorted jazz samples, it’s the highlight of the EP.
But it’s not all menace and gloom. There are straight-up filthy nods to raw sexuality on Don’t Want No Dick and Make Bitches Cum, suggesting that Rush is just as comfortable celebrating pleasure as she is exploring pain. It’s within these converging pockets that Dark Humor, and indeed Rush herself, thrive. She’s an artist capable of dancefloor bangers, but only the most subversive and deviant kind.