Claudia Meza is primarily known around town for her more post-punk and pop efforts thanks to her work as a member of the still lamented Explode Into Colors and the quickly rising trio Stay Calm. But behind those scenes, she is an astute sound artist and curator. This year’s TBA Festival (going on right now through the 16th) has provided her two chances to show off her academic acumen. One is her sound installation, Water, wherein she suspends a collection of cassette players from the ceiling of the White Box gallery allowing attendees to play the tapes in each one. You control the sound of the loops – recordings of waterways and the sound of water lapping up against boats, etc. – to create something of a user-based collage.
An equally thrilling venture that Meza is behind as part of TBA is Sonic City PDX. For this, she tapped a number of local musicians and artists to choose their favorite “naturally occurring acoustic landscapes” in Portland. This can be anywhere from the corner of NE Going and 6th where Sara Lund (drummer for Hungry Ghost and the Corin Tucker Band) rides her bike, and where she hears classical music being blared out of a dilapidated house; or the underside of the Broadway Bridge where, says Thomas Thorson (who records under the name Interiors X), “[t]he traffic overhead provides most of the sound—if you’re lucky you can also hear clanking from the two industrial ports across the river to each side of the bridge.” Be sure to visit the Tumblr page Meza has set up for the project which features short sound clips, and descriptions of what to listen for.
I would also be remiss if I didn’t at least mention the website Noise Arch, which been getting bounced around among my noise/experimental-minded friends. Set up by one stalwart individual, the site features downloadable versions of a cassette archive that he/she acquired from “former ckln fm radio host myke dyer in august of 2009” (according to the site). I’ve only had a little bit of time to dig around (def. not enough to track down any PDX-based/associated material), but already know that there is a wealth of material here, including short run cassette releases by Amy Denio, Crash Worship, and Dog As Master (check out side one of that project’s An Organized Accident below).