Bred for the Basement

BLUETOY [1985] — Early 4-Track and improvisational pieces by Christopher Simmons (recording as BLUETOY). Much of this release actually comprises Simmons’ earliest work in 1983. Primarly composed live; recorded into a Teac A3340S reel-to-reel 4-track, using downmix to one track then adding tracks, then mixed to cassette using various effects of the era.

Christopher Simmons, aka BLUETOY, mixing music on Teac A3340S, circa 1983
Christopher Simmons, aka BLUETOY, mixing music on Teac A3340S, circa 1983

BLUETOY - Bred for the Basement - cassette front
BLUETOY – Bred for the Basement – cassette front

Anecdotally, Chris did not release this material publicly until a couple of years after composing, as he thought it not as sophisticated as his later experimental work, and it was created shortly before “leaving the nest” and moving out of the home with parents and brother into first apartment. Ironically, in retospect he considers it some of his best pure-electronic work due to the simple honest first experimentations in recording his electronic music ideas (inspired by Tangerine Dream, Tomita and the like), forced to be creative due to limitations of instruments and recording technology available in the pre-MIDI era.

The album title is a play on words — basically a more playful version of saying “basement tapes.”

BLUETOY (Christopher Laird Simmons)
• 60 minutes, cassette format release. S.U. Productions.
• Original SKU #SUP8506B normal bias; #SUP8506C chrome cassette.

Far Cry From LeCity … 2:14
Chastened In Time … 2:59
Monotony In Motion … 3:06
Bubble Memories … 2:52
Jungle Drum Strings … 4:53
DePopBop (The Whistler) … 3: 15
Castle With The Avant Guard … 2:36
Dance Aller The Bomb … 2:07
Last Corvette Gone … 2:39
Stay Tuned … :40

Welcome Back … :48
Lyonesae … 3:18
Bred For The Basement … 2:54
Hard Wind … 5:30
Ruff For Roland … 3:06
Sorry For The Problem … 2:09
Good Morning … 2:00
No Room For The Weary … 2:00
Whack It – Hey! … 3:05
Camel Dentist … 3:09

All meterial was composed, performed, recorded and mixed by Christopher Simmons aka “BLUETOY.” Copr. ℗ © 1983, 1984, Christopher Laird Simmons, all rights reserved.



BLUETOY – one thing about Bluetoy that has not been properly emphasized in past issues is the fact that Chris Simmons is a masterful engineer. If you’ve already gotten any of his tapes, you may be aware of this, but if you haven’t listened to them on headphones, you’re missing a good deal of clever and imaginative sonic sculpting (especially on “Dancers in the Tranceglow”).

Chris classes this assemblage of earlier odds and ends with his first release,”Oscillations Unknown”, and as much as I’ve come to appreciate that tape, I have to put this one, “Bred for the Basement”, well ahead of it. This may be due partly to his ever-increasing ability at the mixing board (releasing stuff late can have its advantages!), but the compositional sense here postdates “Oscillations”.

Polyphony magazine’s reviewer surprised himself when he realized the Bluetoy compositions are original-with-a-vengeance. There’s a lot going on in each cut of this tape, which is why I put it ahead of “Oscillations” and its less complicated structures, and the sheer number of stylistic and and patch variations that Simmons is willing to try (and succeed with) are impressive. The title cut itself is heavily jazz influenced, a style that is not always findable easily within a Bluetoy tape, but which will appear just as a self-challenge. As musicians are always challenging their audienr. es to get out of their safe listening habits, it’s only right that a few of th~m should take the same upon themselves when playing. Few do. If you are unfamiliar with Bluetoy, this is an excellent tape to start with, despite its age. If you are already acquainted, this is yet another in a series of A-1 works. $6 for a Cr02 C-60, $5 for normal bias, to: S.U. Productions, Box 7000-822, Redondo Beach, Ca. 90277(*). Topnotch production values throughout, as with all S.U. products.

(*) NOTE: Christopher Simmons and Neotrope Records retired our P.O. box in 2016.


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All material is Copr. ℗ © 1983-1985 by Christopher Laird Simmons. All rights reserved.