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The Catch & Spring Summer Autumn Winter

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Album Review

2001 was a good year for pixel pop fans — at least, it was good for the lucky few who were able to get a hold of one (or both!) of the first two discs crafted by Shaw-Han Liem (aka I Am Robot and Proud), The Catch and Spring Summer Autumn Winter. Those who weren't able to snag a copy of one of these babies through official means can rest easy, however, now that they've been reissued on one attractive, pale yellow disc. Like his later work, this is shimmering, skittering stuff that echoes the tender, computerized meanderings of Lullatone and Mum. Tracks like "The Satellite Kids" and "Vendredi le 30 Mars" cover the kind of delicate, warm and fuzzy territory that would eventually become a trademark in Liem's work. It's also the kind of friendly, feel-good lap-pop that makes listening to his albums a joy, and there's plenty of it to be found throughout these 12 tracks. But if there's still a good deal of material here that suggests how mellow I Am Robot's work would become over the course of the next few years, there's an equal amount of jumpy, percussive movement suggestive of Kraftwerk and, to an extent, Aphex Twin. The Catch's title track is stiff-jointed with blips and synths, as is "James' Equation," what with its clinical skips and chirrs. Which isn't to say that these tracks are any less human than Liem's more organic pieces — they're very much alive, in fact. But it's neat to hear Kraftwerk's pronounced influence in these earlier works, especially when you take into account the kind of lush trappings Liem would apply to this basic skeleton in the following years. This disc is a must-listen for newcomers and established fans alike — especially for those fans who didn't have a chance to hear The Catch the first time around.


Born: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '00s, '10s

I Am Robot and Proud is Toronto-based Shaw-Han Liem, who combines both electronic and organic instrumentation to produce gentle instrumental electronic pop. In the early 2000s, he released two full-lengths on Catmobile Records, The Catch (November 2001) and Grace Days (October 2003), as well as a few EPs and a remix album. His third LP, The Electricity in Your House...
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The Catch & Spring Summer Autumn Winter, I Am Robot and Proud
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