The BLO is a unique instrument for the presentation of accousmatic music. Up to 200 speakers can be controlled by a single person. Spatialization and filter effects far beyond Dolby surround are possible. Almost every speaker has its own very special characteristics ranging from professional high-end-speakers via hifi-equipment from 5 decades or megaphones to “clouds” of broken PC-speakers. The possibility to individually arrange the equipment according to the room and mix their characteristics makes an outstanding range of acoustic diversity possible.
With a few years of forward planning, the first “Bremen Loudspeaker Orchestra” (BLO) was created in 2013. It then consisted of 120 speakers that could transform a piece of music (e.g. from a CD) into a fascinating soundscape. More than 120 speakers can be controlled in pairs individually, and due to that used as a full orchestra. Very fast changes and movements in the room are possible far beyond the typical Dolby Surround effect. The concept was developed following the legendary Acousmonium, presented by Francois Bayle in Paris in the 70s.
The first version of the BLO could control more than 60 individual speakers or groups of speakers via 42 faders. In contrast to France, there was no institution in Bremen that could have financially supported or even paid the construction of an Acousmonium. Therefore the idea came up, to recruit speakers from private households in a special collecting campaign. Fortunately, the communal waste collection service “Bremer Entsorgungsbetriebe” could be won over as a partner and more than 200 fully operative speakers as well as home audio amplifiers could be collected within only one month. The French composer and Acousmonium expert Denis Dufour was guest at the premiere in Bremen 2013.
With his know-how the construction of the BLO could be improved further. And he was thrilled by the sound of the orchestra, an effect caused by the speakers from 4 different decades, as the modern technology produces clearly more similar sounding speakers than the far more individual sounds from speakers of the 70s or 80s. In cooperation with the “Berufsbildende Schule Rotenburg” (technical college), an Open Air Version of the BLO was created in 2015 and premiered on the 27th of June in the city centre of Bremen. The open air version was also used on a variety of other musical festivals in Bremen, Oldenburg and Rotenburg. For this “Rotenburg Loudspeaker Orchestra” (RoLO) again speakers were being used, that had been disposed from private households. This time students from the technical college were responsible for the construction, which took quite a while, as four scaffolds (each 2.50m wide, 3.50 m high) were built by carpenter trainees and the speakers assembled in pillars by the etechnique trainees. All in all 192 speakers could be controlled by two analog mixing desks with 70 faders. The speakers were arranged in a square of 10 times 10 metres around the audience.
In the following years some parts of the RoLO have been used again e.g. at the “Lange Nacht der Musik” of the “Netzwerk Klangpol” with an about 120 m distance of a sound passage at the so called “Kulturmeile”. Also in an installative presentation of hungarian composer Akos Rozman’s opus magnum Tolv Stationer. The piece was presented as a guided tour through total darkness in an old garage for trains. In April 2018 on the occasion of a concert in cooperation with the Mickiewicz Institute from Warsaw within the context of the Jazzahead Bremen, the BLO was setup in full size again with about 200 speakers and 74 mixing desk faders.