Filled with humble dedications, Gordon Koang’s ‘Community’ is a perfect blend of East African pop and vintage psychedelia

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Filled with humble dedications, Gordon Koang’s ‘Community’ is a perfect blend of East African pop and vintage psychedelia

Credit: Michael Rees Lightfoot
Words by Alex Callan

South Sudan’s undisputed ‘King of Music’, the Juba-via-Melbourne eccentric outsider Gordon Koang, returns with his second full-length of original material since emigrating to Australia, the masterly titled follow-up, Community.

It’s pretty easy to see why Gordon Koang and collaborator Paul Biel have become such darlings of the Melbourne music scene. As the follow-up to the esteemed debut Unity (2020), Community will immediately suck you in with its earnest and enthusiastic charm. 

Merging elements of East African pop, modern psych-rock and Middle-Eastern rhythms all in the mix, Community is an incredibly vibrant affair, with Koang’s second release possessing an incessant groove and jam-like quality to the release.

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With a seamless flow between songs, Community impressively feels like one continuous track, with a methodical nature to the linear rhythms that create such a simmering repetition throughout.

Most known for their work in Traffik Island, ORB, Leah Senior and Beans, Community features the inclusion of Melbourne-based musicians Zak Olsen, Jesse Williams, David “Daff” Gravolin and Jack Kong, who add a psychedelic twist to Koang’s output. 

‘Nyina Walthana’ channels Zam-rock rhythms akin to WITCH, whilst ‘Male Mi Goa Ji Sobat’ is filled with meandering key arrangements, staccato picking and polyrhythmic qualities resembling that of GOAT. ‘Kerang’ adopts Latin-inspired soundscapes, with a powerful sweeping nature to the snare hits that’ll be sure to get people dancing.

With each song acting as an ode to something, Koang’s second release is a collection of humble dedications, with his heartfelt messages to very specific places and people delivered in an infectious manner that is accessible to everyone. 

Label: Music In Exile / Above Board    

Release date: November 11