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April 2022: Bluetoy Entry Added on Ultravillage
BLUETOY (aka Christopher Simmons) bio and discography page (first draft) added by site runner and archivist Mark Griffey to Ultravillage. According to the site, Ultravillage is a (work-in-progress) guide to underground ambient, minimal, progressive electronic, and new age releases from approximately 1975 to 1995, covering primarily vinyl and cassette releases from the U.S. scene. The writers for this site are collectors and the material is geared to that community.
April 2022: New Website (Finally)
Neotrope® launches fully revamped website for Neotrope Records, including updated artist bios, discography, timeline, and deep dive into rare ephemera from the 1980s. New ecommerce setup to sell back catalog in physical and download formats. Site will be fully “built-out” during Spring 2022.
Dec. 2021: Simmons’ Blog, MuseWire among top 50 on Internet
Christopher Simmons’ music blog, “MuseWire” selected by the panelists at Feedspot as one of the Top 60 Music Industry Blogs on the web. MuseWire (formerly Music Industry Newswire) was launched in 2005. Read press release on Send2Press Newswire.
March 2003: Kristian Kouvo Interviewed by COMO Magazine
ENTHRONEMENT’s Kristian Kouvo is interviewed by COMO Magazine, a Finland-based entertainment publication which covers new movie and music releases, about the new album release.
March 2003: New Website
Neotrope launches all new NeotropeRecords.com website. The site design by Christopher Simmons, used Flash animation of a 3D movie he created for the “Omnipotent Mainframe” release by ENTHRONEMENT, top/middle/bottom frames layout (top/bottom static, while middle would scroll) as well as animated roll-overs on navigation elements, and mp3 audio player in footer frame. Site used responsive layout to look good on small and medium/large desktop screens.
Nov. 2002: RELEASE “Omnipotent Mainframe”
Neotrope Records releases “Omnipotent Mainframe,” the new CD by ENTHRONEMENT. 12 tracks of electronica instrumentals. 4 new tracks created for the album, and 8 tracks from the best of his projects of the prior four years.
Jan. 2001: Simmons’ New Work Announcement
Christopher Simmons (formerly of BLUETOY, Pets Gone Wild, and Project 11) announces plan for new CD release, “Barcode Soul Patch” to be released winter 2002. Sadly, this never happened, although several tracks were recorded, several demos never finished, and then one demo track was posted online from May 2003, and on Soundcloud. This track was called “BLUETOY” in reference to his original release moniker of the early-mid 1980s.
Oct. 2000: Neotrope Trademark Application Filed
In October of 2000, Christopher Simmons filed a U.S. trademark application with the USPTO. Word Mark “NEOTROPE.” The name Neotrope® was registered May, 2002. Goods and Services IC 041. US 100 101 107. G & S: Audio and Video Recording and Production. FIRST USE: 19960000. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19960000. Registration Number 2574592. Registration Date: May 28, 2002.
Jan. 2000: RELEASE “BESERKER” Commercial CD and Digital
Neotrope Records releases commercial CD version of Christopher Simmons’ popular mid-1980s album, “BESERKER.” This commercial CD, professionally pressed with booklet, shrink-wrapped, bar code and ISRC codes, was distributed via CDBaby and pushed to streaming platforms. As of 2022, CDBaby still offers “on demand” CDR copies as well as digital download copies via AMAZON. However, the commercial CD from 2000 can still be purchased directly from Neotrope Records in shrink-wrapped form, or signed by the artist (at no added cost).
Summer 1999: RELEASE “So What if I Didn’t Make it Big in the 20th Century”
Neotrope Records releases limited-edition CDR album by Christopher Simmons, “So What if I Didn’t Make it Big in the 20th Century.” This compilation CD was created on Apple computers and was burned as a “Multimedia Disc,” with audio tracks but also a data folder which could be read on Mac/Windows PCs. The folder contained a digital collage poster of Simmons playing music and with his gear, and track information since there was no booklet, only a simple card for front of jewel case showing Simmons face. Sadly, almost no machines can read these discs anymore and they will come up as unplayable.
Fall 1998: RELEASE “Techno Sketches”
Neotrope Records releases limited-edition CDR album by Christopher Simmons, “Techno Sketches.” This CD release included almost all of the post-BLUETOY tracks which were never released in any format. These were almost all demo tracks (with too much reverb!) of original electronic music composed in 1988, 1989 and 1991.
January 1996: Bang Big Recordings Becomes NEOTROPE Records
As of 1996, the record label formerly known as Bang Big Recordings, and S.U. Productions, is “rebranded” as Neotrope Records. Kind of a long story on S.U. Productions (and S.U. Graphics, et al) becoming MINDSET in early 1987. However, in attempting to trademark Mindset Records, the USPTO stated the term was in conflict with a rock band which had trademarked Mindset in music category. This led to creation of unique brand name of Neotrope (“neo” + “trope” or tropia, or hyperbole, or hype = “new hype”). This then led to Simmons’ main company name changing from Mindset to Neotrope® in 1998/1999.
Oct. 1989 – Simmons’ Music Used for ‘Video Voices’
Christopher Simmons’ electronica song, “Theme 89” is selected for the opening/closing theme for “VIDEO VOICES” a one-hour cable TV series airing in California. Simmons’ name appears in the credits on screen. The show is produced by Martha Chono-Helsley, assistant Manager, LBMA Video Annex, Long Beach Museum of Art, as the “VIDKIDCO Children’s Video Production Workshop.” The program features experimental videos created by Long Beach area teens. Chris was paid a $50 honoraria for use of the song.
April 1989 – Simmons Music Used for ‘Viewpoints on Video’
Christopher Simmons’ electronica song, “Densitelemetry” is selected for the opening/closing theme for “VIEWPOINTS ON VIDEO” a one-hour video TV series airing in California across 14 cable systems. Episode #17 is the first to include the theme. Simmons’ name appears in the credits on screen. The show is produced by Martha Chono-Helsley, Joe Leonardi and Michael Nash; executive producer is the Long Beach Museum of Art. Series is sponsored in part by the National Endowment for the Arts and the California Arts Council. “Viewpoints on Video” features video artist(s) profiles and video/experimental works in their entirety. Anecdotally, Chono-Helsley learned about Simmons’ recordings thanks to a positive review of Simmons music by the late Marc Tucker in his Camera Obscura fanzine.
Summer 1988 – Simmons’ Music Included in ‘Camera Obscura Sampler Volume 2’
Two of Christopher Simmons’ post-BLUETOY tracks are featured on the “Camera Obscura Sampler Volume 2” cassette compilation, a collection of unique music curated by Marc S. Tucker, editor/publisher of the Camera Obscura music fanzine and his music imprint Lone Wolf. Simmons’ tracks included the “Densitelemetry” track (which later led to “VIEWPOINTS ON VIDEO” requesting to use the track for their cable TV show intro/outro theme), as well as an otherwise unreleased track “His Lover’s Daughter” (which later appeared on Simmons’ limited edition “Techno Sketches” CD release).
Fall 1987 – Simmons’ Music Included in ‘Camera Obscura Sampler Volume 1’
Released by Marc S. Tucker, as part of his Camera Obscura fanzine endeavor, and his Concrete Dreams imprint, Camera Obscura Volume One (aka “C.O. Sampler, Vol. 1”) features 21 tracks on cassette by innovative music artists of 1987. Side one, track two, showcases BLUETOY “Carerra Obselisk” (from Side B, Track 2 of Simmons’ “Beserker” release). Side two features tracks 2 and 8 by The Simmons/Tucker Enigma. Also on side two, track 10, a selection from BLUETOY “Dancers in the Tranceglow.”
Nov. 1986 – ‘BESERKER’ reviewed in Electronic Musician Magazine
Christopher Simmons’ album, “BESERKER” (released under name BLUETOY for first cassette release), positively reviewed in the Nov. 1986 issue of Electronic Musician magazine, page 14, in the “Released and Reviewed” section by Robert Carlberg (who also recorded under the name Anode).
June 1986 – ‘BESERKER’ Reviewed in Camera Obscura
“BESERKER” by BLUETOY (aka Christopher Simmons), receives positive review in the June 1986 issue of Camera Obscura (Issue #9), a music ‘zine edited and published by the late Marc Tucker. Review appears on pages 7 and 8.
April 1986 – BLUETOY Music Airs on ALIEN AIR MUSIC
The BLUETOY (aka Christopher Simmons) album “Reinventing the Wheel Without a Third Eye” is played on the Alien Air Music radio program, hosted by Pat Murphy, and airing on KXLU 88.9 (Los Angeles). Anecdotally, Pat heard about the album from the write up in SYNE magazine.
Spring 1986 – Simmons Produces/Mixes ’11 Constructions’ for Marc Tucker
In a creative musical collaboration, Christopher Simmons partners with the late Marc S. Tucker, editor of Camera Obscura, to “performance mix” Tucker’s original album, “11 Constructions.” Created on Simmons’ former Teac A33040S 4-track, Tucker recorded the 90-minute album entirely with his Roland Jupiter 6 keyboard, with no effects. Simmons did a stereo mix using his many FX pedals, mixer, and Tascam mastering studio cassette deck to create the mix for both headphone and speakers. Very much a Bebe and Louis Barron meets David Lynch vibe. The album features one track, “Manhattan Sunday … with Spaceships” with Simmons on digital percussion taken from the demo tracks done by “The Tucker-Simmons Enigma” when Simmons was tutoring Tucker on how to use the A3340S.
Winter 1985-1986 – ‘Reinventing the Wheel’ Reviewed in SYNE Magazine
Christopher Simmons’ electronic music album, “Reinventing the Wheel Without a Third Eye” (released under name BLUETOY for first cassette release) is positively reviewed in the Winter 1986 (Dec. 1985) issue of SYNE magazine (#8512), in the “Tones on Tape” section on page 67 (inside back cover). SYNE was published by the International Electronic Music Association (IEMA), and edited by Jim Finch.
Winter 1985-1986 – ‘Bred For the Basement’ Reviewed in Camera Obscura
Recording as BLUETOY, Christopher Simmons’ release “Bred for the Basement,” a B-side and leftover collection of tracks from earlier projects (often things which didn’t fit onto the cassette length), receives positive review in the late 1985 issue (#7) of Camera Obscura, edited and published by the late Marc Tucker. Review appears on page 9.
Spring 1985 – ‘Repetitive Rhythms’ Reviewed in Camera Obscura
BLUETOY (aka Christopher Simmons) music release, “Repetitive Rhythms For A Planet That Doesn’t Know Any Better” reviewed in issue #4 of Camera Obscura, edited by Marc Tucker. Review appears on page 5.
Spring/Summer 1985 – Simmons’ Music Played on IMAGINARY VOYAGES Radio Show
Christopher Simmons’ electronic music played on “IMAGINARY VOYAGES” on WOMR-FM, 91.9 in Provincetown, Massachusetts; a weekly show hosted by electronic musician, author and luminary, Ben Kettlewell. Anecdotally, Jim Finch of SYNE and the IEMA recommended Simmons’ music to Kettlewell. Of Simmons’ music played on the show, Kettlewell said, “The composition and instrumentation are excellent … definitely some of the best electronic music I have listened to in quite a while.”
Spring 1985 – ‘Reinventing the Wheel’ Reviewed in Camera Obscura
Editor Marc Tucker reviews Simmons’ first couple of BLUETOY releases, “Reinventing the Wheel Without a Third Eye” and “Dancers in the Tranceglow” in issue #2 of Camera Obscura published by Tucker’s company Concrete Dreams, in Manhattan Beach, CA. Review appears on page 12.
Summer/Fall 1984 – ‘Reinventing the Wheel’ Reviewed in Alternative Rhythms Magazine
Editor Sam Rosenthal gives the BLUETOY album release, “Reinventing the Wheel Without a Third Eye,” a positive review in the VINYL section of Alternative Rhythms magazine. Sam may be best known, other than for publishing Alternative Rhythms, for his band Black Tape For A Blue Girl.
Aug. 1984 – ‘Reinventing the Wheel’ Reviewed in POLYPHONY Magazine
Christopher Simmons’ album, “Reinventing the Wheel Without a Third Eye” (released under name BLUETOY for first cassette release), positively reviewed in Polyphony magazine, “re-view” section, page 20, by Robert Carlberg. (Note: Polyphony later became Electronic Musician magazine.)
IMPORTANT NOTE: Certain times and dates may be approximated in recreating this timeline due to the amount of time that has passed since the actual events. If you have updated/correct information, or if something notable is missing, please feel free to contact us.