California Guitar Trio celebrates its 20th anniversary with Andromeda, the band’s first release on vinyl. “Andromeda represents a culmination of all our work together in the past 20 years,” guitarist Bert Lams said. “We have released numerous CDs over the years, but there’s none like this one. Andromeda is the first album containing nothing but original material, combined with improvised pieces. The integration of structured, thought-out pieces with the loose and spontaneous improvisations is something we’ve never done before.”
California Guitar Trio is Paul Richards of Salt Lake City; Lams of Affligem, Belgium; and Hideyo Moriya of Chiba, Japan. The trio met in England in 1987 while studying with King Crimson guitarist Robert Fripp. After touring together as part of Fripp’s League of Crafty Guitarists, the three convened in Los Angeles and founded California Guitar Trio in 1991.
“When we started the band, it was only a California project, and no one knew how long it would last,” Moriya said. “Yet something good always happened to keep us going when times were tough. It is great to reach 20 years with Andromeda, and we have good energy to keep going.”
CGT plays a unique style; guitars weave a knot of interlocking parts to form a whole. Together, Richards, Lams and Moriya create a kind of “super-piano,” and at other times their style unfolds in an ethereal manner. Little wonder that astronauts aboard NASA shuttle Endeavour played CGT to wake up.
Here on Earth, the trio’s music has been featured extensively on NPR, NBC’s Olympics coverage and various CBS, CNN and ESPN programs. “This new record captures a balance between the pure acoustic sound and the processed electrified sound of the CGT, something we’ve experimented with before, but not to this degree,” Lams says.
“With each recording, we have been striving to achieve the best of acoustic analog recording techniques blended with the use of electronic guitar effects and digital processing,” Richards said. “With Andromeda, we have achieved a new level of the acoustic-electric blend. Our original music continues to evolve with years of detailed and refined interaction among trio members.”
Andromeda features guest performances by Tony Levin (King Crimson, Peter Gabriel), Julie Slick, Eric Slick, Tom Griesgraber and Tyler Trotter. The cover of Andromeda also serves to celebrate another 20th anniversary, that of the Hubble Telescope. The CD and LP cover image, designed by Pablo Mandel, features a photo from the new camera on Hubble, and the artwork was recognized in the European Space Agency’s Hubble Pop Culture competition.