BUSAN, South Korea – I Am a Robot and Proud is the one-man brainchild of Shaw Han Liem. With a unique mix of electronica fused together with assorted musical instruments he creates some astonishing harmonies and rhythms that have led him to become a perpetual figure on the Japanese music scene going on ten years now.
Toronto born, but now living in Osaka, Liem created his outfit back in 2001 and has seen his success grow on a systematic scale. With a strong discography of albums the immensely talented "robot" Liem, will be hitting Korea for several dates this month starting at the Basement in PNU this Thursday, the 22nd of April before heading off to Daegu and Seoul.
After the release of his fourth album ‘Uphill City’ (released on Darla Records) in 2008, he brought a more cutting-edge, but ultimately more rewarding sound than his previous albums such as 2007’s ‘The Electricity in Your House Wants to Sing’ and his debut album ‘Grace Days’, released in 2003. Not to say that these albums aren’t well worth a listen, they are truly intelligent pieces of quaint and melodic music.
As the San Francisco Guardian wrote about Liem's 2006 release, The Electricity in Your House Wants to Sing: "(It) is a brilliant pop effort from the young Toronto native. It's difficult to pick the track that makes my heart the happiest — the analog bursts and fairy chirps of "When I Get My Ears" or the whistling synths and merry percussion of "Center Cities." Slick textures and oscillating harmonies fall into place as each track flows into the next, with Liem's sharp production transforming Electricity's 11 beautiful head bobbers into one seemingly colossal number that never loses its sparkle."
And yet, with ‘Uphill City’ there is more contrapuntal interplay between each production showing Liems continuing maturity as a master of his art.
At times his music is often childlike and innocent, almost like it’s handing you a plate of escapism and encouraging you to play with your food. But unlike many of the offerings from the electronic/synthesized genre that often ends up sounding more like a 1980’s video game, Liem has given the listener something different and well worth your while.
Songs like "401 Circuit" creep into your system slowly as the cleverly arranged electronic assemblage of sound builds and then breaks, builds and then breaks. Then there's the melifluous "The Everything Machine Pt. 1" that takes an offbeat, layered with acoustic guitar and synth, to create the feeling that you are stationed on a lunar landing module watching the sun rise over the earth.
Once again, The Basement in PNU is bringing something unique and new to Busan –a refreshing change for a city that is often passed up for the likes of Seoul and Tokyo. The performances of What’s Up and Raleigh Moncrieff at the beginning of the month and Xui Xui in two weeks time, have brought to Busan an array of eclectic and diverse music that it has not seen before.
Tickets can be purchased at the Basement in PNU or Blowfish in Songjeong. Prices are 16,000won and performances begin at 9pm on Thursday.
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