Compass is an asynchronous looper for Monome Norns built – like Dunes – around the concept of a command sequencer. Commands modulate sequence, recording, playback and looping behaviors.

The example video here was recorded in one take, using a Casio PSS-270 and a field recording as sound sources. Pretty slice and dice. Subtlety out the window. Parameters like rate and rate_slew were put under midi control.


2.0 released! This version introduces crow support. See the release post below for details.

Compass’ sequencer moves through commands of your choosing that trigger different functions. Use commands to, for example:

  • manipulate the sequence’s clock or jump to a random step
  • randomly change the location of your loop within the buffers
  • alter the rate, direction and position of each record/playback head

Compass’ audio buffers and its sequencer each have their own sense of time in order to facilitate experimentation. Interesting effects and textures can be created by recording into loops long and short, randomizing commands on the fly, modifying the sequence length, etc. Midi-mapping additional parameters allows for more gestural control.

The two buffers are purposefully long (64s), allowing sounds to travel freely to different regions during recording and playback. Unexpected (and hopefully interesting!) things can happen as the two record/playback heads are independently pushed around.

Norns 2.2.+

README (all commands are referenced in-app if you need a quick reminder, though)

(as always, PRs most welcome)
~ Midi clock out (got the gist of this working, but had some sync issues – will revisit)

CONTRIBUTIONS :bowing_man:
@justmat for midi out implementation
@GoneCaving for arc support

Github ~ zip


The demo sounds lovely! Can’t wait to try it :slight_smile:

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wowza! great work. stoked to try this tonight!

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By far one of my favorite sound demos on this forum (which is also incidentaly the place where people usually make the best sound demos of anything)


All I hear is the sound of me neglecting my family/responsibilities for the rest of the day :rofl:.

EDIT: Sound samples.

Here is a bunch of guitar noodling in open C#min with Compass doing its thing…

…and here is the composition as a whole. There’s Compass, there’s MLR, there’s Bounds. Oh my.

Lovely script here @Olivier! Very musical and useful!


Get the whole fam together — everyone on vocal sample duty :wink: And many thanks to everyone for the kind words. I’m really looking forward to hearing what you all cook up!


This looks awesome! I love the demo video too :heart_eyes:


Sounds terrific @mattlowery - thanks for sharing!


this composition is such a great demo for these apps


omfg. just got back to my norns and this script is amazing…never have i been as convinced that i need a second norns than after noodling about with compass… I have a feeling that “norns into norns” is the new “rings into clouds”…

a million thanks…


Curious, with your demo, did you have the incoming be coming through their own input? Like, the Casio coming through one, the field recording, the other?

No, actually - the stereo field recording came from my computer, so I used my MixPre 3 to mix it with the mono Casio signal before going into Norns.

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Okay, so, the 2 sequence/playheads are essentially the same recording, but the double nature of it allows for an ongoing mix of the two?

Meaning, if using compass, I would want a mixed stereo signal coming in to norns? I guess it’s not necessary, and I could experiment, but I haven’t had the time to really get in to it.

No worries. Per the readme, you can actually specify whether you’re using a mono or a stereo source. Just make sure the global monitoring option (in system/audio) is set accordingly.

With a mono source, yes. With a stereo source, both buffers will be used to preserve the stereo image. This is how it worked for me during testing, so please let me know if you experience something else!

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Okay, I just wrapped my head around this. Great. Setting to mono and attaching 2 sound sources (one in each channel) would generate two different playheads that would both be centered. With Stereo, it will preserve left and right channels, meaning that if you wanted multiple sound sources, you would need to mix the sources prior to it entering the Norns.

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Just gave this a quick spin and think this will become a favourite of mine. Thanks a lot for sharing this.


this app is full of pleasant surprises


@glia - holy smokes! :clap:


Dammnnnn this is some amazingly crazy weird stuff I love it.

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First recording. You’ve really outdone yourself with this instrument!