Blue Landscapes III: Frontiers – Music from a Quieter Place
by Robert Thies and DamJan Krajacic
“. . .inspired by the beauty of nature: The forests, the mountains, the lakes, the streams, the sea – even what lies beyond the stars – but always grounded in human emotion.”
“’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
2006 was an important year. It was the year a mutual friend introduced Robert Thies and Damjan Krajacic. Robert is a classical concert pianist who won a Gold Medal in the Prokofiev Competition in Russia, as well as having a music recording career in the film and television industry. Damjan, a native of Croatia, is a jazz flutist and holds a Master of Music degree in Afro-Latin Music. This fortuitous meeting led to the beginning of their musical collaborations, and Robert and Damjan released their first album, “Difference,” in 2006.
In 2012, they released the first of the “Blue Landscapes” series, which is now three albums of original compositions and meditative improvisations on flute and piano. Following, in 2016, was “Blue Landscapes II: Discoveries.” And now we have “Blue Landscapes III: Frontiers,” which was released in late January 2020, on the Real Music record label.
The music on “Blue Landscapes III: Frontiers,” was inspired by Robert and Damjan’s mutual love of nature and Earth’s beauty. The entire album was improvised over the span of five days, except for two previously composed works –“Le Musicien” and “Goodbye.”
“Blue Landscapes III: Frontiers,” is almost an hour and a quarter of total relaxation. And this is 15 improvised tracks of piano and flute that go “beyond the traditional colors of the instrument,” as Damjan says. All the music on the album consists of piano and two flutes, a regular C flute and a bass flute. There are no synths on this album. What’s interesting and impressive, even, is that they’ve created incredibly unique textures and sounds that do exactly that. For example, on “Forest Path,” Robert created an amazing looped rhythmic underlay with the piano strings. And Damjan’s relationship with his flute is symbiotic. It’s as if they are one. I’ve not heard flute playing quite as extraordinarily beautiful as this. It sounds other-worldly and ethereal as in the wonderful, “Abandoned Monastery.”
The album opens with the very relaxing “Drifting,” which is a perfect lead in to all that follows. Here, soulful flute combines with soft piano to get us in the “drift.” And off we go. “The Lighthouse” is deep, soft, slow, and mystical, and takes us exactly where we need to go. Perfect quiescence. “Goodbye” is peaceful and calming to the soul. You’d swear there was a synth or even a horn in here, but there isn’t. It’s the smooth as silk piano performance by Robert and the incredible flute performance by Damjan that makes it seems so. This doesn’t feel like a sad song. It’s almost as if any goodbye leads to a whole new beginning. This is one to love.
The title track, “Frontiers” has a rhythmic piano underlay to the flute. You might think there was a drum in here, but again, there isn’t. It’s just piano and flute. Masterful. Things get even better with “Tranquility.” Here’s another one where you could believe there was some type of stringed instrument in here, but again, no. This is a super peaceful song that takes you even deeper and effortlessly into the landscape.
With its soft, yet cinematic feel, “Take My Hand” allows us entry into an even more peaceful state, if that is possible. How they have achieved what they have here on this album with just two instruments, is truly beyond me. It’s astoundingly brilliant.
“Infinity” is sparkling. Here we have some interesting, ancient kinds of sounds with the flute that accompany the super smooth and twinkling piano, which includes a hypnotic, rhythmic piano underlay. This one will give you chills. Superb.
Perfectly captured in “The Distant Waterfall,” is the feeling of flowing water. Passionate flute plays with magnificent piano. And again, on “Waves on a Moonlit Sea,” is the feeling of water, but of floating peacefully in the moonlight without a care in the world. The bass flute helps convey a feeling of velvety nighttime. This is a true favorite and recommended for everyone’s relaxation playlist (as is the whole album).
“The Valley of Echoes” brings us back expertly to dry land, but there isn’t anything “dry” about the song, which is equally as gorgeous as every song of this album. Here we have another hypnotic and rhythmic underlay created by Robert on the piano and along with that, the flute takes us to a whole other realm. “Forgotten Memories” feels like we are invited to remember our eternal natures. This is so beautiful and a good length at almost 6-1/2 minutes. It’s like a musical tranquilizer for whatever ails you.
One thing many people find challenging is to trust, relax, and let go. Appropriately, the album closes out with the soul-soothing, “Letting Go,” which feels comforting, restful, and restorative. Feeling stressed? Not anymore. . .here’s your remedy. Blue Landscapes III: Frontiers, is magical and calming.
Get it here: www.BlueLandscapesMusic.com or wherever music is sold/streamed.
Streaming and Purchasing: https://fanlink.to/BLIII-Frontiers
Video: Artist Interview – https://youtu.be/297Ozj8CeKY
Video: “Forest Path” – https://youtu.be/h_j9DqWxipo