This page still under construction, and not fully baked; Chris is updating as time permits 🙂

“Beserker” was, perhaps, the most “completed” release by Christopher Simmons. First released on cassette in two editions (same tracks, different artwork for J-card); first under his moniker of BLUETOY, then later under his own name. Unlike his other home-brew experimental and improv work, this album was composed entirely on the Linn 9000 drum machine, connected to wall of synthesizers owned by both Simmons and bandmate Rick Kleffel, recorded at Rick’s Redondo Beach based “Catshit Studio” (two blocks from the Redondo Beach pier).

The album tracks were recorded on weekends, while Rick and his wife were out of town, and between band rehearsals for Rick’s group, PETS GONE WILD, which Chris was a member of at the time. Each track was composed in one day, and quick mix done to cassette for posterity. A second mix was never done for any track due to Rick and Chris falling out, and the original data disks “going missing.” Hence, why some tracks are clearly headphone mixes, and are not as polished as they could be as far as common mix practices. The 2000 CD edition has some minor remastering done to CD levels and such of the time, but without original stems or hardware or MIDI files, there was not a lot Chris could do to fully remix the original work.

Sadly, the CD files provided to streaming services (via CDBaby) are horribly recompressed in some cases, and can sound pretty awful.

Chris hopes to do a fourth and final version of “BESERKER” at some point, now that modern AI-enhanced technology can better pick out individual elements and side-chain those elements to bring them out in the mix, or dial back the reverb in places.

The album was positively reviewed in numerous music magazines of the mid-1980s and played on many “space-music” radio shows.

Beserker – the three editions (1985-2000):


The third edition of “BESERKER” by Christopher Simmons was released on commercial CD in 2000 on the Neotrope Records label. The track list was slightly different, removing the track “Sherocks!” (originally Side A, track 3) due to the female orgasmic sample from the Ensoniq Mirage being a little ‘cheeky.” Also, the post-BLUETOY track, “Densitelemetry” was added as last track on the CD.

When first released in the mid-1980s, several people questioned the spelling (“Beserker” vs “Berserker”). This was intentional, to have an original name in the wild.

Released as a full commercial shrink-wrapped compact disc, with ISRC codes, UPC/EAN barcode, and distributed by CDbaby to Amazon and other streaming services, this version also had a soft remaster in order to provide some limiting and gain to bring all the track levels more in line for a CD release. The tracks are a little “hot” for modern streaming mastering, but are intended to be an improved version of the original cassette releases.

Neotrope® Records SKU: 80153-00101-2-1 / EAN: 801530010121 / Made in Canada.

1 Beserker (Dark Village) … 05:07
2 Dream Myself … 02:27
3 Vast Indemnity … 05:32
4 Banzai Romance … 05:01
5 Princess of the Moon … 05:26
6 This is a Blank … 03:47
7 Might Have Been … 04:54
8 Carrera Obselisk … 02:10
9 Two Keys for Wednesday … 04:01
10 Apostrophe … 01:56
11 Demon’s Mark (Part 1 + 2) … 06:30
12 Demon’s Mark (Part 3) … 01:39
13 Twilight Park … 03:24
14 Densitelemtry (Theme from Viewpoints on Video Cable TV Series) … 04:27

Copr. ℗ © 2000 Christopher Laird Simmons


The second edition of “BESERKER” by Christopher Simmons (dropping use of “BLUETOY” moniker) was released by Bang Big Recordings on cassette with a 4-color offset printed gloss cardstock J-card, and offset printed labels for each side of the cassette. Only the packaging changed, as well as retiring use of both “Bluetoy” as artist name, and “S.U. Productions” as label name.

As with original release, and with all Bluetoy/Simmons cassette releases, all tapes were duplicated 1:1 at normal speed and not using high-speed duplication methods.

ANECDOTAL: Since the the new label name was transitional, the J-cards actually say release is from Bang Big Recordings (BBR), Distributed by S.U. Productions, Redondo Beach, CA. This was due to the pre-existing DBA on file with L.A. County clerk for “S.U. Productions” (and S.U. Graphics), and not yet filed for BBR. In fact, a DBA was never filed for BBR, as that brand was abandoned in 1987 as Simmons’ main company name changed to Mindset legally (DBA, bank account, etc.). Mindset became Neotrope® in 1997 as transitional brand name change, fully migrated to new brand by 2000.


The original, or first, version of “BESERKER” by BLUETOY (Christopher Simmons) was released by S.U. Productions on cassette with an offset printed black ink on goldenrod paper J-card, and offset printed labels for each side of the cassette.

As was the norm for folks releasing indie cassettes properly back in the day, all tapes were duplicated 1:1 at normal speed and not using high-speed duplication methods which were believed to affect the quality of the “pressings.”

The following text is taken from the original J-card insert for cassette jewel case.

All music composed, programmed & performed by Christopher Laird Simmons from Sept. 1985 to March 1986. Special thanks to my good friend Rick Kleffel for the generous use of much of his equipment for the production of this collection of musical experiments.

Christopher Simmons (aka BLUETOY) used the following equipment in various configurations to create the music for this recording: Linn9000 with sampling, Ensoniq Mirage, Roland MKS-30, DX-21, Prophet 600, 360 Systems MidiBass, Sequential Six-Trak, Korg EX-800, Boss DE-200, Boss Flanger, and Peavey 8-Channel Mixer. Recorded direct to two-track cassette with Dolby ‘C’.

Original S.U. Productions SKUs: #SUP8507B normal bias; #SUP8507C chrome cassette.

(Track name followed by length in minutes:seconds)

Vast Indemnity … 5:25
Banzai Romance … 4:54
Sherocks! … 5:54
Twilight Park … 3:21
Princess of the Moon … 6:00
This is a Blank … 3:44

Might Have Been … 4:48
Carrera Obselisk … 2:05
Beserker (Dark Village) … 5:05
Dream Myself … 2:22
Two Keys for Wednesday … 4:05
Apostrophe … 1 :53
Demon’s Mark (Parts 1·3) … 8:17

Copr. ℗ © 1985/86 Christopher L. Simmons.



Bluetoy, Beserker (cassette). Keyboardists don’t often make good percussionists, but Christopher Laird Simmons is the exception. The dominant force on this tape is a very accomplished sounding Linn 9000, with relatively minor keyboard chords, trills and fills holding it together musically. Like Neal, he doesn’t confine himself to drumkit sounds, making his percussion a joy to listen to. This and five previous tapes available for $6 each from S.U. Productions, Box 7000-822, Redondo Beach, CA 90277.(*) — Robert Carlberg.


I played all of the first side of “Beserker” on my show last night and received a great response. The telephone calls were very encouraging. It will definitely be played frequently on the show. The composltlon and lnstrumentatlon are excellent and the mixing and production also (are) superb quality … this is definitely some of the most enjoyable electronic music I have listened to in quite a while. — Ben Kettlewell, “Imaginary Voyages”, WOMR-FM Provincetown, MA.


BLUETOY ~ Having been privy to parts of this tape as it gained its growing shapes, I was nonetheless knocked off my pins when I received the final mix. “Beserker” is a huge leap forward for Chris Simmons. It is also unique in that it is, as far as I know, the first tape on which he has forsaken his usual game plan of playing multiple keyboards live into the mixer and has, instead, gone for the multi-track approach. This may be the biggest reason for the frosting making this cake so sweet. Whereas live recording calls for quick thinking and nimble fingers, multi-tracking allows time for thought, multiple tries for perfection and so on. The sound can acquire a finish that on-the-spot linear thinking may not afford. Simmons probably should have been a percussionist as well as a keyboardist. His use of a Linn 9000 is so assured that one must stop ahd recall that a rhythm machine is in use, and not the real thing. Augmentation by clever mixing, which bounces the percussive sounds all around the speakers’ dimension fields, gives all the more reality to the effect.

Though the mention of “Miami Vice” is a stock derogation now, much of “Beserker”, used as a soundtrack, rather than Jan Hammer’s stiflingly overblown compositions, would take the sting out of the insult and re-interest listeners in the possibilities a synth presents outside of its· vinyl contexts. Co-incidentally, Simmons is one of the few players on the indie scene making an aggressive effort to try to master the bend bar, one of the most damnably difficult effects on an electronic keyboard (and of which Jan Hammer is the hands-down master). On “Carrera Obelisk”, he shows his increasingly deft proficiency.

“Demon’s Mark (Parts 1-3)” is a surprise. An unabashedly ambient/progressive tune, it incorporates a stateliness otherwise absent from previous efforts, and succeeds like a dream. On the other hand, “Banzai Romance” is the ne plus ultra of his propulsive funk-cum-hi-tech-jazz/pop, carrying a horn patch that rivals John Entwhistle’s masterful use of horns as ostinato punctuation (listen to the Who’s “My Wife” and John’s solo “Smash Your Head Against the Wall” for brilliant examples). Neither blaring nor submerged, it presents a perfect melodic shorthand. But, the most engaging aspect, running through almost every single cut of the 13 songs, is the sheer amount of layered melodic interplay which marks it as of the most outstandingly thorough indie jobs to come through in years and obtains it this issue’s HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION. Write: S.U. Productions, Box 7000-822, Redondo Beach, Ca. 90277 (*).

(*) Important note: Christopher Simmons and Neotrope Records retired our PO Box address in 2016.

GALLERY -pending