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Listening to art. Playing with audio. Sounding out technology. Composing in code. Rewinding the soundscape.

Smog, Los Angeles

To say there’s a lot of great graffiti in Los Angeles is an understatement. The place is utterly embraced by street art, and each visit to that underappreciated metropolis yields one new site-specific public art installation after another.

Among my favorites is a manifesto — as longstanding as it is brief — that simply reads “Post Mad Bills.” It’s less a retort to the municipal admonition “Post No Bills” than it is a statement: If you’re going to leave your mark, leave an inspired one.

No surprise in Los Angeles that much of the most inspired graffiti — be it spray paint, magic marker, mural, sticker, or stencil — is concerned with music. And one personal favorite of mine is the poster “SMOG LA,” the photo of which below was shot across the street from the Crewest Gallery in downtown LA this past weekend:

The SMOG LA poster is a drawing of a cartoon car, its back holding a massive speaker, its front end the gaping maw of some fierce yet cute automo-beast. It even has a little tail (always the mix of kowai and kawaii, of scary and adorable). I like to imagine that the SMOG beast is munching on air pollution, and in turn transforming it into sound. (Note that the “SMOG” logo virtually suffocates its internal “LA.”) That’s a fitting interpretation, since so many graffiti opponents compare it to a sort of pollution itself.

High-rez version at

And more on the dubstep club SMOG LA at, you guessed it,

By Marc Weidenbaum

Tag: / Comments: 4 ]


  1. Violet Gray
    [ Posted August 25, 2009, at 11:23 am ]

    Cool write-up. We have 7 SMOG posters that we’ve collected after shows. 3 year anniversary coming up!

  2. Drew Smog
    [ Posted August 25, 2009, at 12:09 pm ]

    glad to see our message being interpreted the right way. you couldn’t have said it better. thanks for the photo blog!

  3. mHead
    [ Posted August 25, 2009, at 2:54 pm ]

    Cool in so many ways. Living in the suburbs of northen Delaware, we alas don’t get to enjoy art like this. The closet we come to interesting graffiti is a railroad bridge with NERD HUMOR written across it. A local DE blog has a post about it, .

    I know this is a bit off topic, but I thought you’d find it interesting anyway.

  4. Marc Weidenbaum
    [ Posted August 25, 2009, at 2:55 pm ]

    My pleasure, Drew. Yeah, the piece caught my eye, if I remember correctly, when I was in downtown LA back in April. Glad it was all still up when I was back there this past weekend.

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  • Marc Weidenbaum founded the website in 1996 at the intersection of sound, art, and technology, and since 2012 has moderated the Disquiet Junto, an active online community of weekly music/sonic projects. He has written for Nature, Boing Boing, The Wire, Pitchfork, and NewMusicBox, among other periodicals. He is the author of the 33 1⁄3 book on Aphex Twin’s classic album Selected Ambient Works Volume II. Read more about his sonic consultancy, teaching, sound art, and work in film, comics, and other media

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