Happy New Year! In an effort to contribute, in some small way, to a more positive year for 2017, I’m going to be updating my little blog here on a daily basis with a short article about a piece of music and a picture that I really like. This is a mostly-selfish attempt to get myself back into the habit of writing and to farm for more clicks, because I’m pretty vain in that regard.
A brief warning: I know very little about art, and even less about music. As such, my contributions will mostly be “I like this because I think it’s good.” That is the standard of critique you’ll mostly be seeing.
Picture of the Day – Ralph McQuarrie’s B-Wing Concept Art
Sticking to type for my first contribution of the year, this piece is some Star Wars concept art by Ralph McQuarrie, who’s pretty much a legend in the niche category of Concept Artists. He defined the look and feel of the entire Star Wars series, and is probably about as responsible for its success as John Williams, the series’ soundtrack composer.
My reason for choosing this picture, though, out of the many possible options, is that it’s just beautiful. McQuarrie’s ship and vehicle designs will be his legacy, but as an artist I loved how he used light in each of his pieces, which is about the most generic art-critic-y phrase I could have used, but just look at that painting! The glow from the explosion, the deep, oceanic reflections on the planet behind, the faint outlines of the Imperial fleet, and the pale crescent of the Death Star, lurking in the background with deadly menace.
McQuarrie uses the light to define the shape of the new B-Wing fighter – the light from the explosion catches the all the edges of the ship, accentuates the curved surfaces, and makes the ship look powerful, and dangerous. He isn’t just designing a space fighter, he’s giving it a role, a character of its own, by telling a story in a beautiful way.
I imagine I’ll be posting more McQuarrie pictures throughout the year, and I’ll definitely be sharing more artwork where light plays a dominant part, since it’s about the only thing a philistine like myself can appreciate. For now, though, I think this is a good starting place.
Music of the Day – ‘No Reptiles’ by Everything Everything
Spotify Link: ‘No Reptiles’ by Everything Everything
‘No Reptiles’ is a weird song by a band I’d never heard of and know nothing about. I really can’t overstate how little I know about music in general, it’s frankly awful. I would make the worst radio DJ in the world, partially because I’d have nothing to contribute in terms of discussion and mostly because the bulk of what I’d end up playing would be soundtracks and shapeless ambient stuff.
Anyway, I picked ‘No Reptiles’ for today because the lyrics are mostly absurd and the music is full of variety and “energy”. The pace and the acoustics of the song change throughout its run, but always seem to be set to “slightly strange”, along with the singing. I’m not really sure what else I can say about it, because I really do know very little about music – it cropped up on my ‘Discover Weekly’ playlist on on Spotify, which is actually my main vehicle for broadening my musical horizons. Yup.