Shaw-Han Liem may be proud, but he is not in fact a robot. Or if he is, he’s a robot in disguise; more Bishop from Aliens than R2-D2. A native of Toronto, Ontario, Liem is a one-man outfit who since 2001 has crafted chilled electronica with soul, taking an artistic bent that has seen him collaborating with numerous musicians and even videogame designers. Unlike many laptop warriors, he boasts some impressive keyboard skills, and embraces new instruments such as Yamaha’s Tenori-on, performing at the gadget’s global launch events in 2008.
I Am Robot And Proud’s sound is warm, cerebral and mature. Layers of textured synths and sequencers sit atop lightweight rhythm tracks and deep bass, recalling the best of the Warp roster or Japan’s Yellow Magic Orchestra and Cornelius. His five albums feature acoustic instruments such as guitar and mandolin alongside the bitcrushed electronics, and recently a selection of songs from his 2008 LP “Uphill City” have been remixed by avant-garde Japanese artists such as Yuri Miyauchi and Oorutaichi for the album “Uphill City Remixes & Collaborations.”
A regular on Japan’s live circuit, I Am Robot And Proud play a string of dates in April and May. The first four shows are as a live band, an approach Liem appears to find particularly fulfilling, stating that their “rehearsals are at least 50 percent laughter.” After a jaunt around other parts of Asia, Liem then returns for four laptop-and-keyboard solo shows. Better get your tickets in quick — you may only have 20 seconds to comply.
I Am Robot And Proud’s Japan tour starts April 9 at Duo Music Exchange in Shibuya, Tokyo (with Yuri Miyauchi; 6:30 p.m.; ¥3,800 advance/¥4,100 at the door; 03-5459-8716). The tour takes in Kyoto, Nagoya, Osaka, Fukuoka, Kanazawa, Niigata and Matsumoto. For details on dates and locations, visit www.andrecords.jp