Buoys v1.2.0


tidal influencer/activator/lightshow

I’m excited to share with you something I’ve been working at for a while and I think has come together into a really fun, atypical little sandbox for playing around with sound, I hope you enjoy it.

I had the idea for buoys over a year and a half ago. I was primarily trying to think of an interface that would be original and a unique fit for the grid, and the ideas for sonic applications came later. I’ve always loved water and have often been mesmerized by watching waves crash into shore, or move in the open ocean. After a long time passed I came back to the idea and finished the app.

The concept: a tide of light moves across the grid, activating sounds and modulations as the tide interacts with any number of “buoys” that have been placed anywhere in its path. The core physical metaphor is that of a wave/tide of water moving through space and having interactions with objects in the water along the way. Besides buoys, pilings are the other type of object that can be placed in the water. Unlike buoys, pilings do not yield to the tide, the tide yields to them. The tide will be disrupted by pilings it runs into as it moves along. On the grid, brighter lights correspond to deeper “waters”.

Each buoy can be associated with a sound. As the buoy gets lifted up and down by the tide, any number of sonic parameters can be modulated proportionally to the momentary depth of the tide, such as playback volume, playback rate, filter cutoffs, and more. Additionally other modulations related to the momentary tide depth can be sent out via crow or midi.

There’s much more detail in the README. You can also learn more in the video walkthroughs.


norns, grid (8x16 varibright)
optional - arc, crow, midi



v1.2.0 - https://github.com/lylepmills/buoys/archive/main.zip


I don’t have Norns but video sounds great!

Very nice! Will dive in shortly :ocean:

Excited to try this out, thanks for sharing! Do you think it works with an older grid that can only display four different levels of brightness?

oh wow this is an incredible concept. sounds and looks beautiful too. amazing work.


are the sounds samples or synth engine? thanks

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This makes me want a Grid even more badly than I already do :weary:


This looks incredible and I love the background info and inspiration.

Thank you for sharing :heart:

This is beautiful, look forward to digging in!

This looks intriguing, even using a Launchpad mini mk3 with midigrid. I only have one right LPM now so only get half the grid… is there any way to load a sample folder other than pressing all four corner buttons on a 128 grid? I tried mapping a control to external midi, but couldn’t find anything suitable

Aside from that, this looks like one of those scripts that is going to become an archetypal Norns experience. Fantastic work!

Just tried it with the default drum samples.

Really nice experience. Visually the led brightness variation is really stunning in person.

I needs to try it with midi cc out. It will act as some sort of midi LFO right?

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Thanks everyone for all the kind words - it feels great to hear that other people see the value in this concept after the long lonely journey to get it out in the world. I had set a deadline for myself to have a version out by today because I was starting a new job today, and knew I might not have as much free time again for a while. The response is really invigorating to me to continue developing the idea to its fullest realization.

To the questions so far
@vehka - I don’t have an older grid to test with, and I’m not sure how they would respond to the grid commands that get sent from norns. But I don’t see any inherent reason though why it wouldn’t be possible to use the app with any varibright grid, though obviously the resolution of some of the visual feedback would be compromised. If you want to discuss the idea further feel free to DM me.

@swhic currently the app works with samples. I have some dreams of how it could be used with an engine but don’t hold your breath, that would probably not be one of the first new features I’d build.

@DoS I don’t know anything about midigrid but if it works how I’m imagining, then it would be a one-line change to adapt the script to your needs. You could just replace the line

local META_MODE_KEYS = { { x=1, y=1 }, { x=1, y=8 }, { x=16, y=1 }, { x=16, y=8 } } 

with your own preferred set of keys.

@eigen - yep, it’ll basically work as a funky kind of midi LFO, or a bunch of them!


ABSOLUTELY stunning script!

going for a surf right now and i had a crash.
i had eight buoys and about five pilings in the tide.

it was playing for a bit and then everything froze and there was no getting out of the script.

i was able to connect with maiden and send a ;restart and head out into the water again.

i saw for a brief second a WARNING message that said something about MIDI clock being to fast. i think that’s what it said.

norns is on EXT MIDI clock connected to a Cirklon at 125bpm.

the Cirklon wasn’t running during the crash but it is powered up.

by the way…i dig the WARNING broadcasts…they remind me of DARIUS!


fantastic demo. I feel like I’m hearing some softcut-ish pitching stuff going on, but I don’t see that mentioned in the docs. Is that part of what’s going on in your demo video too?

Buoys will be buoys :joy: nicely done!


would be amazing to get visualization of the tide rolling by on the norns screen, loving this script!

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Perfect - that worked perfectly, and I’m now listening to – and watching, for that matter – the sound of 606 samples washing through the waves. Incredible stuff!

@SPIKE sorry to hear about the crash. Happened to me a few times in development and I never was able to pin down exactly what happened, but I’ll keep hunting. And please everyone keep letting me know if this happens and what you were doing with the app at the time.

@jlmitch5 thanks! Yes the pitch shifting effects are referred to in the docs as rate modulation (there’s no time stretching in softcut so the two move in tandem). In the demo there was some rate modulation on the buoy in the bottom right, which had already been pitched up two octaves from the original piano snippet.

@24Franks I was working on that a while back, I spent a bunch of time trying to make it look really good and at a certain point I had to walk away because it was distracting me from proceeding with building out the main functionality. But now that this is out, I certainly hope to revisit that at some point.

@DoS glad to hear it!


I had this happen on the first run through; I added a sixth or seventh piling, maybe the third added on the first row of the grid, and the script locked, but kept playing. (Norns Shield with 1 Launchpad Mini Mk3 emulating the left-hand side of a 128 grid via midigrid).

The second attempt has been fine so far - I’ll try adding more pilings and see what happens. Edit: added five pilings for a total of 9 and 7 buoys and the Norns locked up until restarted by Maiden.

all cool!
of course i didn’t have maiden open when the crash happened.

i was able to get back up and running and wove it into last night’s session!
this is Buoys running on two norns with some additional warping from @dan_derks Cheat Codes and a few other noiz weapons: