Blue Landscapes

Biography

The musical partnership of pianist Robert Thies and flutist Damjan Krajacic did not follow an obvious musical path but was borne out of friendship and a desire to find common musical ground and expression. Robert Thies, an active concert pianist by day, has always longed to explore a musical outlet which involved spontaneous creative expression. Damjan, born in Croatia, is a musician of eclectic styles whose background spans jazz, Latin jazz, and classical training, with additional strong ties to the folk music of Eastern Europe.  He already boasts a large discography of six albums as composer and leader.

Their first meeting of musical minds came together for Damjan’s crossover album of compositions for a 2006 album, Difference.  Over the coming years, Damjan and Robert continued to improvise together and eventually found a common ground, music rooted in genuine and natural expressivity.  Damjan explains: “I have always felt a deep connection to lyrical expression, regardless of musical genre – an urge to express emotion from within that simultaneously feels as if it is connected to all else.”

Eventually they came to the realization that they should document some of these sessions. Robert tells us: “When we got together to record, we had nothing composed, no agenda in mind, no pre-conceived objectives or constraints.  The music, therefore, came from a place of honest and open expression, and we did not concern ourselves with how people might react.  The emotion behind the music is a direct response to life experiences, some of which inevitably would be more melancholy than others.  It wasn’t until we finished recording for five days that we discovered a common thread to much of this music and an album eventually emerged.”

Subtitled Music from a Quieter Place, Blue Landscapes is music to quiet the mind and nurture the soul. It is deeply meditative and evokes beautiful natural landscapes where one can experience inner peace and tranquility. The music is quiet and reflective with splashes of vivid colors over a transparent musical veil. Melodies rise from the moods that the musical backdrop inspires, allowing more active listeners to fill in the musical spaces with their imagination. Others may be swept up by the undulating grooves or find themselves in a contemplative and peaceful mood.  The acoustic nature of the music gives it an earthly and human quality. All percussive sounds and colors in the music were created either on the flute or piano. “The music of Blue Landscapes is inspired and grounded by our love for Earth’s beauty and all of her natural wonders. It is important to us that the music sounds and feels natural, and so we have avoided the use of electronics.”

“The improvisatory and delicate nature of these albums is the perfect vehicle for such honest and natural expression, void of stylistic expectations or the need to impress.”  The ambience created here is rich, introspective, subdued, wistful, peaceful, and inspirational.

The music of Blue Landscapes is the result of improvisatory sessions marked by the influence of such composers as Ravel, Satie, and Debussy, and the nature-evoking, spiritual, and improvisatory music of artists like Mark Isham, Tim Story, Will Ackerman, Pat Metheny, Ralph Towner, Paul Winter, and Vangelis.

Blue Landscapes captured the attention of the record label, Real Music, and Blue Landscapes III: Frontiers will be released under their label in November 2019.  Eager to share the music with a wider audience, Damjan and Robert have presented concerts in the greater Los Angeles area in venues like the Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga and the Boston Court in Pasadena. Future performances are being planned for venues overseas in Croatia, Slovenia, and England.

 

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Blue Landscapes III: Frontiers – Album Reviews

ALBUM REVIEW – ‘Blue Landscapes III: Frontiers’

Robert Thies & Damjan Krajacic’s “Blue Landscapes III: Frontiers is presented by a group that calls itself THE “mindfulness music leader” Real Music aka myndstream. This ‘mindfulness’ connection is important because it presents music as something more than mere easy listening stuff. Psychology Today calls mindfulness “a state of active, open attention to the present. This state encompasses observing one’s thoughts and feelings without judging them as good or bad.” Therefore, “Blue Landscapes III: Frontiers,” is a means to an end. It is – simply put – music to help the listener focus better.

Dan McIntosh, Skope Magazine

 

ALBUM REVIEW – ‘Blue Landscapes III: Frontiers’

Delicate, like two wise birds heard singing on a breeze — piano and flute, bringing unhurried and relaxed, melodic instrumental wonderment. Consistently contemplative serene movements, weaving a diaphanous kaleidoscopic silk tapestry. Nothing is even remotely fast or moderately hasty, the entire album (74:55) is a perfect daydream with clouds and in my mind’s eye some mystical starfish are slow-stepping in the sky. Thies and Krajacic create soundscapes that leave enough space in the music for the listener to fill with their own thoughts. It is about life. It is about freedom. It is about taking the time to truly enjoy the fine art of listening.

Beth Ann Hilton, Elephant Journal

 

ALBUM REVIEW – ‘Blue Landscapes III: Frontiers’

There is much to be inspired by on our beautiful, rocky blue ball and Robert Thies & Damjan Krajacic on their third installment of their Blue Landscapes Series, Blue Landscapes III: Frontiers use a broad and passionate brush to paint vivid soundscapes for all to enjoy. This album is fifteen tracks of contemporary and ambient themes featuring poignant piano and evocative flute. Robert is the pianist, Damjan is the flutist. Both are globetrotting virtuosi with many degrees and international awards. The music is organic in the sense that it replicates natural phenomena; the flow of water, the breath of wind, the warmth of the sun on a flat rock. The miracle that you hear and feel, but don’t see is that the music is almost entirely improvisational. No smoke and mirrors here.

RJ Lannan, Artisan Music Reviews

 

ALBUM REVIEW – ‘Blue Landscapes III: Frontiers’

One would think that a genre like New Age music, with its free-flowing nature and few restrictions, would motivate artists to improvisation – but that is not the case. It is a shame since improvisation done right can be magical. One such inspired release is Robert Thies and Damjan Krajacic’s third installment in the “Blue Landscapes – Music from a Quieter Place” series, called “Frontiers”. The songs’ ultra-light structure and meditative atmosphere make the album perfect for dreaming and creative work. It is a visit to the frontiers you don’t want to miss.

BT Fasmer, New Age Music Guide

 

ALBUM REVIEW – ‘Blue Landscapes III: Frontiers’

Much like life, improvisation is unpredictable, and sometimes magical. Blue Landscapes III: Frontiers delivers an honest, spontaneous musical conversation capturing breathtaking moments in time. Recorded live with minimal overdubbing, the uncertainty of the process enabled the musicians to reach deep and let go, unifying with the listener both musically and spiritually. The result is intimate music that evokes uplifting visions of nature, and reinforces a feeling of connection to our planet, and to all of humanity.

Top40-Charts.com

 

ALBUM REVIEW – ‘Blue Landscapes III: Frontiers’

The success and wide-ranging acceptance in New Age circles of Robert Thies and Damjan Krajacic’s award-winning improvisational duo concept, Blue Landscapes, over the past seven years proves that unexpected, soul-stirring transcendence is possible when musicians are willing to venture outside their longtime areas of discipline/expertise and embrace the unknown.

Jonathan Widran, The JW Vibe

 

ALBUM REVIEW – ‘Blue Landscapes III: Frontiers’

The collaborative duo of classically-trained American pianist Robert Thies and Croatian-born flutist Damjan Krajacic return for a third installment in their musically mesmerizing Blue Landscapessaga. Aptly-titled Blue Landscapes III: Frontiers (Music from a Quieter Place), this all-instrumental fifteen-track album draws its inspiration from natural vistas while possessing a recurring theme of water throughout. As I’ve noted in other reviews of the creative pair’s previous albums, Blue Landscapes III: Frontiers is similarly minimal and improvisational in nature while simultaneously expressive and melodic in composition. 

Aural Awakenings

 

ALBUM REVIEW – ‘Blue Landscapes III: Frontiers’

What is especially remarkable is the way the music evolves so effortlessly with two musicians of such different backgrounds. That musical and emotional connection creates a unique kind of energy that peacefully flows throughout the album and connects directly with the listener.

-Kathy Parsons, Mainly Piano

 

ALBUM REVIEW – ‘Blue Landscapes III: Frontiers’

Delicate, like two wise birds heard singing on a breeze — piano and flute, bringing unhurried and relaxed, melodic instrumental wonderment. Consistently contemplative serene movements, weaving a diaphanous kaleidoscopic silk tapestry. Nothing is even remotely fast or moderately hasty, the entire album (74:55) is a perfect daydream with clouds and in my mind’s eye some mystical starfish are slow-stepping in the sky. Thies and Krajacic create soundscapes that leave enough space in the music for the listener to fill with their own thoughts. It is about life. It is about freedom. It is about taking the time to truly enjoy the fine art of listening.

Robin James, Ello

 

ALBUM REVIEW – ‘Blue Landscapes III: Frontiers’

’Blue Landscapes III: Frontiers,’” is an absolutely outstanding album filled with magnificent simplicity, softly cocooned inside incredible textures that go beyond the ‘traditional colors of piano and flute.’ This is one to get lost in and find yourself at the same time. Extraordinarily beautiful.

Dyan Garris, New Age CD

 

ALBUM REVIEW – ‘Blue Landscapes III: Frontiers’

Words simply do not do this work justice as it is the emotion, ambience and graceful dance of the music as it moves into fresh new areas within the genre of classical new age collaboration, which needs to be experienced to be appreciated and enjoyed. Sublime!

Janet Mawdesley, Blue Wolf Reviews

Discography

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