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Blue Landscapes II: Discoveries by Robert Thies
- posted by Dyan Garris - New Age CD on 6/14/2017
Blue Landscapes II
Picture this. You’re in a crowded room. It’s so noisy you can’t distinguish any particular conversation from another, and no one phrase, sentence, or topic stands out. It’s just noise, an incessant din, and people clamoring for attention among themselves.
However, as you make your way through the crowd, you notice there are two people in the corner having an interesting dialogue. A quieter dialogue. Your attention is drawn to them magnetically, because they seem to be having a genuine exchange that is somehow effortlessly rising above the cacophony, without perhaps, that direct intention.
You move closer. You want to hear what they are saying. As you move closer, and can make out what they’re saying, you decide that it’s not so much what they’re saying, it’s how they’re saying it. Wait a minute. Wait. Correction. It’s both. You stop, listen, absorb, and are amazed.
You have just discovered the profoundly compelling improvised musical conversation of piano meets flute that takes place between pianist Robert Thies and flutist Damjan Krajacic in their “New Age” album collaboration, Blue Landscapes II: Discoveries.
Blue Landscapes II: Discoveries – the second album in a series appropriately captioned, “Music From a Quieter Place” – is a refreshingly candid improvisational musical dialogue between concert pianist, Robert Thies and flutist extraordinaire, Damjan Krajacic.
Improvised? How good could that be? Read on.
These are not just two who like to get together and make music. Thies is an internationally recognized concert pianist, who in 1995, won the Gold Medal at the Second International Prokofiev Competition in St. Petersburg, Russia. He is world renowned for his piano mastery and ultra-sensitive, heart-felt delivery and interpretation of technically difficult classical piano pieces that would undoubtedly daunt any virtuoso.
If you want to experience the classical musical genius that is Robert Thies, watch on YouTube his performance of Chopin’s Etude in C minor, Op. 10 no. 12 “Revolutionary.” It’s astounding. I’m sure you will agree that if he doesn’t have his hands insured already, he should do so.
But his extraordinary talents aren’t wasted here by any means. Not surprisingly, perhaps, Thies, raised in a musical family, is also a composer in his own right and a gifted improvisational artist who began composing and improvising at a young age.
And it’s equally important to note that composer and flutist, Damjan Krajacic, also raised in a musical environment, doesn’t play second flute to Thies’ piano skills either. Hailing originally from Croatia, Krajacic holds a Master of Music degree from California State University, Los Angeles, in Afro-Latin Music, where he studied Charanga, Jazz, Brazilian, and Classical flute.
Here, Krajacic’s own extraordinary musical mastery is showcased through the use of several different kinds of flutes, each with its own distinctive voice inside this conversation. But none of it is for its own egocentric purpose. This is one resonant frequency speaking fluently to and with and woven throughout the other. It’s authenticity, musically and otherwise. It’s another reason to be attracted to this conversation.
When you’re having a real conversation with someone, you don’t script out beforehand what you’re going to say. You just engage in the exchange and see where it takes you. You walk away with food for thought and with something that gives you opportunity to propel yourself to higher knowing. Each person brings their own fresh, unique point of view to the mix. This is the true beauty of the musical interchange going on in all of the compositions on Blue Landscapes II: Discoveries. And it is here that we have opportunity to rediscover our own native authenticity that has perhaps been lost in the crowded space.
I love every one of these 15 tracks found on this album. The heartfelt, thoughtful compositions here open one up into to a vast, expansive landscape where you can actually feel like you’re back in touch with yourself and with your individual life after a long period of being away.
Even though I feel like the whole album is a standout, some of what is specifically worth noting is as follows:
The first track, “Floating,” is aptly named. There is a freedom of spirit inherent here that is palatable. This is love of life.
On the track “Into the Horizon,” it’s the flute that has the haunting melody here. It’s as if we’re flying into the horizon in our airplane of life. The piano provides the grounded framework we need to in order “keep our horizon” in our sights. It’s exactly what we need to keep ourselves straight, steady, and aloft. The flute melody then allows us to soar to new heights. Uninhibited by the earthly landscape, we can thoroughly enjoy the ride.
“Discoveries” is a brilliant, colorful combination of Thies’ piano mastery and Krajacic’s subtle, interwoven flute. It’s served up on a bed of rhythmic heartbeat. Have a listen and you’ll discover the depths for yourself.
Particularly alluring is “Across the Open Fields.” The melody is engagingly lovely and one feels as if they are flying high above. The groundedness of the flute combined with the lightness of the piano melody makes for an interesting juxtaposition in a place where the flute could be expected to be the air and the piano then should be the ground. It makes for a nice mix of sky and earth in a whole different way.
Blue Landscapes II: Discoveries is without question the best New Age album I’ve heard this year. Thoughtful, moving, healing. Graceful. Elegant. Beautiful. Provocative without even trying to be. These adjectives and descriptions hardly scratch the surface of conveying what truly can’t be conveyed by words. That’s why we have music.
What’s particularly refreshing about this “music for quieter place” is that it speaks volumes to our planet and to our souls. Discover it for yourself.
Listen and buy Blue Landscapes II: Discoveries on iTunes
CD Baby
Blue Landscapes Music website

Rating: Excellent
Eavesdropping by Musical Nature
- posted by Candice Michelle on 6/11/2017
Musical Nature - Eavesdropping
Musical Nature is the recording alias of Rhode Island based electronic music composer Geoff Varosky. His latest album, Eavesdropping, features six compositions varying in length from seven to under nine-and-a-half minutes, which notably draw upon the ambient-techno style of music pioneered in the early 1990’s by electronica bands like The Orb and The Future Sound of London. Interweaving what could be described as free-floating background and foreground layers of synthesized textures and environmental field recordings, experimental beats and industrial nuances frequently lend both an edgy crunchiness and contrasting bit of chaos throughout.

The opening piece, “Common Code”, is also the album’s most dreamy and minimal number, characterized by echoing environmental textures comprised of hollowed metallic timbres, synthesized loops and distant muffled voices. Soft pads drift into the free-flowing soundscape that encircles the listener, in which one is solitarily removed from all the human hustle-and-bustle that can be heard just outside of this seemingly dome-like environment. Continuing into the equally dreamlike “Brown Sauce”, distorted signals and unintelligible voices are intercepted along the way by icy shimmers and seagull calls. A processed repeating drum loop accompanies the piece throughout, although serving less as a foundational rhythm and more as an additional textural layer, which lies just outside the bounds of an inner circle as it produces a ping-pong effect across the listening space. Easily my favorite piece on the album, it somewhat recalls The Orb’s “Back Side of the Moon” from their 1991 classic, The Orb’s Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld. “Independence Day” moves into a more urbanized setting with crunchy distortion, amelodic jazz samples and experimental trip-hop beat. The piece nicely segues into “Victoria”, which conveys an underground semblance of industrial machinery that’s highly reminiscent of The Future Sound of London’s 1994 ISDN album. Initially reverting to the dreamier atmosphere of the opening piece, spacey voices and warped sci-fi sounds swirl about “The Tuesday Moon Siren”, eventually giving way to a bouncy, bass-laden downtempo groove. The final track, “The White Horse”, is most similar in composition to “Victoria”, albeit slightly toned down.

Recalling past works by The Orb, Autechre, FSOL and Spacetime Continuum, Eavesdropping is just the kind of album that would seem right at home on the long-standing Warp or Astralwerks labels. Its vividly blurry and beautifully surreal environment is one that seemingly leaves the listener unable to quite figure out where they’re at throughout its journey. An always welcoming and thoroughly enjoyable sound to hear acknowledged and expanded upon, Eavesdropping is especially recommended for fans of any of the aforementioned artists, as well as those who appreciate continually innovative and cutting edge styles of electronic music! ~Candice Michelle (Journeyscapesradio.com)
Rating: Excellent
Red Diamonds by Gina Leneé
- posted by Candice Michelle on 6/9/2017
Gina Leneé - Red Diamonds
Californian native and resident Gina Leneé is a classically trained pianist and composer who’s released a handful of albums since the early 2000’s. Her latest album, Red Diamonds, marks her first time working with Windham Hill Records founder Will Ackerman, which was recorded at his Imaginary Road Studios in Vermont. Comprised of ten compositions showcasing Leneé on piano, the album variably features guest performances throughout which includes Ackerman on guitar, Charlie Bisharat on violin, Eugene Friesen on cello, Jill Haley on English horn, Jeff Haynes on percussion, Jeff Oster on flugelhorn, Marc Shulman on electric guitar, Premik Russell Tubbs on electronic wind instrument and saxophone, Tom Eaton on fretless bass, guitar and vocals, and Noah Wilding on vocals.

“A Thousand Days Without You” opens in a graceful, unhurried manner with subtle English horn melding into the backdrop along the way. “Soulmates” continues in this gentle piano mode seemingly tip-toeing about, as accompanying violin further lends an added touch of gracefulness that perfectly illustrates a couple’s dance. Initially beginning more slowly, “Carry Me Away” eventually picks up a livelier pace with underlying percussion and a repeating piano riff throughout. Electronic woodwind and breezy wordless vocals further lend the piece a somewhat Celtic feel that likewise paints a scenery of open meadows and sunny skies. An especially lovely composition, it seems to tell of story of waiting to be whisked away by a lover whom one wishes will soon arrive. My absolute favorite piece herein is “The Moment”, clocking in at nine minutes as the album’s lengthiest track. This hauntingly sensual number treads along more ambient-jazz terrain, aided in part by drifty flugelhorn which helps to convey a deeper level of intrigue. Softly echoing percussion, subtle brushes of wordless vocals, sparse guitar notes and the mysterious melody of electronic woodwind perfectly round-out this piece, which serves as a shining example of many subtle yet perfectly placed musical elements coming together to create a truly outstanding composition. The title track, “Red Diamonds”, moves along in a somewhat galloping manner with its focal melody warmly accompanied by percussion and violin. The album’s most subtle piece, “Art of Life” is another highlight defined by a notably elegant melody graced by cello and airy vocals. And finally, “Forever” concludes the album as its most sentimental piece, led by a tender melody that’s once again accompanied by English horn.

Overall gently restrained and mostly low-key throughout, Red Diamonds elegantly sparkles and shines without the need for too much ornamental flash. Rather, many perfectly understated musical elements and subtle textures combine on this beautiful collection of pieces for a personal listening experience that is truly reflective, romantic and intimate! ~Candice Michelle (Journeyscapesradio.com)
Rating: Excellent
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