Christopher Cooper
Christopher Cooper via YouCaring

Christopher Cooper, an early and active supporter of Portland's underground rock and experimental music scenes through his independent label Cavity Search Records, died today at 52. The news comes from a press release from Denny Swofford, the co-founder of the label.

Says Swofford: “The Portland music community has lost an irreplaceable figure. Christopher has moved on at the age of 52. He naturally seemed to be everything you needed, husband, father, son, brother, artist, storyteller and the dearest of friend if you were fortunate enough to know him.”

The cause of death was abdominal cancer, according to the YouCaring page set up to gather donations for Cooper's treatment.

Cavity Search Records, which celebrated its 25th birthday last year, got its start with "J. Hell," a three-song 7-inch from Hazel, and went on to release the work of such Portland legends as Elliott Smith and his former band Heatmiser, King Black Acid, Gern Blanston, and the Helio Sequence. Along the way, the label also worked with avant jazz icons Elliott Sharp, Wayne Horvitz, and Steve Lacy. While the label slowed down in the '00s, Cavity Search was picking up steam in recent years, including the release of a handful of fantastic local artists such as Down Gown and Survival Skills.

Since 2000, Cooper has been employed with local construction and woodcrafting company Hammer & Hand as a lead supervisor.

We will update this story as we gather more comments and remembrances from the local music community.

R.I.P. Christopher Cooper. Gone far too soon.