15 Songs, 1 Hour 16 Minutes


Ratings and Reviews

4.8 out of 5
4 Ratings

4 Ratings

WKellerman ,

Absolutely magical!

The natural, effortless beauty of this album is inspiring! I love the exploration of unusual sounds on the instruments, and the careful execution of tone, touch and breath in creating this unique sound. FLOATING really makes you feel like you’re gently drifting in midair! The soft, tender chords in the upper register of the piano are so powerful in their simplicity. DAWNING OF NEW WORLDS is mystical. Such nuanced expression and amazing timbres achieved in the flute! The ostinato pattern in the piano, broken by the low notes, is so mysterious and hypnotic. A beautiful musical pilgrimage!

CandiceMichelle1 ,

Review from Journeyscapes Radio

Blue Landscapes II: Discoveries is the follow-up to Robert Thies and Damjan Krajacic’s 2012 album, Blue Landscapes. A world-renowned classical pianist, Thies began improvising and composing at a young age. Flutist and guitarist Damjan’s background spans jazz, Latin jazz and classical along with musical influences of his own central European heritage. Comprised of fifteen compositions spanning seventy-seven minutes, the duo employ melodic improvisation to create blissfully serene soundscapes, as the pieces subtly fluctuate between atmospheric passages and minimalist contemporary instrumental tunes.

The opening piece, “Floating”, immediately imparts a mood of repose, leisurely drifting along like clouds slowly passing across the sky with flute and piano emitting softy woven textures. Taking things up a notch is “Across the Open Fields”, a more contemporary instrumental piece that pleasantly recalls the signature sound of many classic Windham Hill releases. Guided along by a continuous piano riff throughout its course, the joyfully carefree tune aptly portrays a scene of riding through open fields and winding around the hillsides, as flute and piano exchange brightly buoyant notes. One of my favorite pieces herein is “Discoveries”, which bears some reminiscence to the film score compositions of Mark Isham. Underscored by a pensive piano loop in contrasting lower and higher registers, I’m reminded of a train travelling in the night, as echoing acoustic layers and textures further accentuate the piece’s beautifully intriguing balance of serenity and suspense. Another highlight, “Evolution”, recalls enchanting woodlands with its fluttering flute and warm piano notes effectively evoking the peaceful solitude of nature. Fey-like and magical, it’s easy to envision being surrounded by colorful butterflies dancing on the wind and golden sunrays pouring through treetops. My absolute favorite piece herein is “Winter’s Chill”, in which acoustic-ambient sequencing underlies a somewhat plaintive flute melody and sparse piano chords. Hauntingly emotive, it seems to allude to that of embarking on a long journey, with wind-tapping effects on flute effectively mimicking that of a chill winter breeze. Closing out the album is the aptly-titled “Dreaming”, where softly swirling piano notes are joined by subtle flute, as both instruments are played with a delicate touch that seemingly recalls a watercolor painting in pastel hues.

Gently shifting from the deeply serene to the lightly joyful throughout, Blue Landscapes II frequently evokes the pristine beauty of nature and changing seasons. Never bombastic or overwhelming, the duo inject just enough space between the notes of these gently understated compositions, which are often freeform and flowing yet cohesive and melodic. Often recalling the works of Mark Isham and Paul Winter with even a touch of Michael Jones, Blue Landscapes II is a highly impressive album that will likely appeal, especially, to fans of the aforementioned artists!

KathyPiano7 ,

From MainlyPiano

"Blue Landscapes II: Discoveries" is the sequel to the 2012 release, "Blue Landscapes." Subtitled "Music From a Quieter Place," the album is a collection of fifteen improvisations by American concert pianist Robert Thies and Croatian-born flutist Damjan Krajacic. With an international performing career, Thies is known for his consummate musicianship and poetic soul. He first captured worldwide attention in 1995 by winning the Gold Medal at the Second International Prokofiev Competition in St. Petersburg, Russia. He is the only American pianist to win first prize in a Russian piano competition since Van Cliburn’s famous triumph in Moscow in 1958. Many classically-trained musicians have difficulty “letting go” enough to improvise freely, but since childhood, Thies has been interested in improvisation and composition that “transcends traditional boundaries.” Damjan Krajacic is a musician of eclectic styles with a background that spans jazz and Latin jazz with a touch of his own central European heritage and classical training.

The music on this album is very open, soothing, and beautiful. If it needs a category, it is probably more new age than classical with occasional jazz touches. However, with artists of this calibre, the music rises above any specific genres as a unique work of art. More ambient than melodic, this very artistic collaboration provides a spacious musical respite to “quiet the mind and nurture the soul.”

"Blue Landscapes II: Discoveries begins with “Floating,” a piece that gently flows at the pace of a drifting cloud while drawing the listener in for what promises to be an exceptional musical journey (and is!). “Across the Open Fields” is a favorite and has a lively rhythm created by muting some of the piano strings to make them sound plucked while the flute freely dances in a jazz style. “The Story of Your Heart” begins with a haunting flute solo that incorporates almost as much open space as it does sound. The piano enters with an equally haunting motif as the two instruments come together to tell a heartfelt story - also a favorite. “The Warmth of Her Embrace” is expressed with an almost mournful flute and the lightly-flowing piano - gorgeous! “Discoveries” has a synth melody that Krajacic improvised - the only track that isn’t acoustic-only. The solo piano “A Love Remembered” incorporates the muted strings to again create a light-hearted rhythm. For contrast, some of the piece is played in the deep bass of the piano, expressing different moods and memories. This is my favorite track on the album! “Winter’s Chill” utilizes the rhythmic muted piano strings, deep bass of the piano, and some jazzy and percussive flute blowing to paint images and impressions of being out in the bitter cold - very effective and evocative. I love this one! “Morning Sky” expresses the pastel colors and peaceful stillness of dawn. “Dreaming” brings this excellent album to a quiet close in much the same way as it started - floating gently on a drifting cloud, completely at ease and without a worry in the world.

I did not hear the first album in this series, but I plan to remedy that soon! "Blue Landscapes II: Discoveries" is an album that should be really listened to a number of times for a full appreciation of the beauty of the music. Very highly recommended!

More By Robert Thies