I Am Robot and Proud
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About I Am Robot and Proud
Toronto native Shaw-Han Liem makes bright, wondrous electronic music as I Am Robot and Proud. Also a video game designer, Liem's music is gentle and playful, appearing simple on the surface but reflecting an advanced level of compositional skills. Entirely instrumental and incorporating electronic as well as acoustic instruments, his music is of equal interest to fans of indie pop and IDM, fitting in with intersectional acts like Dntel and ISAN. Debuting with the childlike melodies and skittering beats of 2001 mini-album The Catch, Liem began incorporating more complex arrangements, including more guitars and woodwinds, on subsequent albums like 2008's Uphill City. After forming a live band for performances, Liem revisited several of his older compositions on 2015's People Music.
Shaw-Han Liem studied piano at the Royal Conservatory for a decade, in addition to teaching himself how to play guitar. He began making electronic music as I Am Robot and Proud in 2000, as he was completing a degree in computer science. His first release, The Catch, appeared on British label Catmobile in 2001. This was followed in 2002 by the 10" EP Spring Summer Autumn Winter, as well as a limited CD-R of remixes titled You Make Me This Happy on Piehead Records. Second full-length Grace Days was released in 2003, and two 3" CD-R EPs were issued by Duotone Records: Electric Avenue Chapter 6 (2003) and My Sky Your Sky (2005). Having contributed to the Little Darla Has a Treat for You compilation series, IARAP began releasing albums on Darla starting with 2006's The Electricity in Your House Wants to Sing, his most organic-sounding release yet. The label then reissued his first two recordings on CD as The Catch & Spring Summer Autumn Winter in 2007.
The upbeat chip-pop of Uphill City appeared in 2008, followed by the companion release Uphill City Remixes & Collaborations in 2010. Sound Shapes, a musical video game co-designed by Liem (who also composed much of its music), was released for Sony PlayStation systems in 2012, subsequently becoming popular with gamers and receiving several awards. I Am Robot and Proud returned with 2013's Touch/Tone. The project's next release, 2015's People Music, consisted of full band arrangements of earlier tunes. The full-length Light and Waves also appeared that year, and included two songs similarly recorded with Liem's touring group. Following a 2018 split EP with Oorutaichi, I Am Robot and Proud released Lucky Static, an album of songs developed from a series of computer-generated animations. ~ Paul Simpson
- Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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