introducing... norns zine

you have certainly spotted the announcement of norns workshops being organized.

(if you missed the first one, here is the replay 1 + 2, and don’t worry there will be others)

but this initiative is only part of what 2022 has to offer…

>>> introducing… norns zine !

(not definitive visuals & title, this pic was just a quick mockup from way back)

zines have been a staple of various DIY cultures (punks, hackers, school clubs…), crystallizing their spirit at a point of time.

the community around norns is vibrant but constantly changing: people come and go, their involvement being conditioned by motivation and sometimes life events…

a zine could be a snapshot, a trace, a memory :film_strip:.

scope & structure

the zine would be comprised of two main “sections” reflecting 2 facets of how people interact w/ norns:

  • :musical_note: "PLAY" for the music-making aspect
  • :wrench: "MAKE" for the tool-making one (scripting, hardware hacking…).

we strive to have balance in content between those 2 aspects, as well as between the relatable vs practical, poetical VS technical.

call for contributors

we’re now opening the gates to more contributors.

so far we have:

  • page formatting / publishing skills
  • design skills
  • photo skills
  • WIP articles & content for the MAKE side of things

we need:

  • illustration skills
  • more design skills (notably to have several identities for the different sections)
  • articles for the PLAY side of things
  • one-off and recurring “small-bites” articles

most contributions should fit the general theme of this first issue, which thanksfully is generic enough: START.

for now all the discussion happens on the #zine channel on the norns study group discord and we meet up semi-regularly (past meeting notes).

we’re also figuring out some tooling that’d allow to review contribution proposals in a more streamlined way.

more details coming soon as we go.

disclaimer: role of new contributors

we prize horizontal decision making, and have a small team of editors already in progress, but we are always looking for input into brainstorming and executing the content.

please note that the project is not “just starting”. several collective days of work has already been put through.

so be smart about how you engage, don’t expect to arrive and remodel everything.


Mind Blown!!!

Excited about this…


Definitely following this!

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I could help you with design and typesetting! PM me your timeline and I’ll help where I can


This is great! I’d love to contribute in some way.

It would be great if there were some examples of the kind of writing that you think mirrors the tone/voice of the zine you could share? I’d love to write a little about using norns as a non-technical/coding user (this is the first objection i get when discussing norns with other music friends).


Wow super exciting! I’m going through a pretty busy phase of my life and my music making is kind of limtied, but I’d still love to contribute. Illustrations being what I think I could best do in this context.


super cool idea - big zine fan, big norns fan. may be able to contribute some articles/one-offs in the future


@_marimo, @danbond, @papernoise & @molotov, thank you all for your motivation! we’re now tracking people’s interests & skills through this spreadsheet. you can register there if you want.

since last time, this page appeared, an index of the important resources for the project.

we’re still very much in a experimental phase concerning the visual identity. we now have a WIP moodboard to collect the team’s inspirations.


Done! Depending on my workload I could also be contributing an article.

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My wife is an ilustrator and has offered (if it’s wanted!) to do some mono prints in this style for the zine if that aligns with the style guides.


It’s probably a good idea to share some images.
an example of stuff I make could be this one: Modular Spaces – Papernoise


No idea how I could contribute but… I love zines. I’ll definitely check out how I could be a part of this (at worse I’ll enjoy watching!)


next meeting will be be held next saturday.

we’ll cover:

  • ideas for ways to link different visual identities
  • review of the pool of skills composed by the various people that joined
  • review of the document to track the outline

this invite comes w/ more info.


EDIT: notes here


>>> a hefty pack of contributors

you were plenty to respond for our call for contributors.

in fact, we now have a healthy set of available skills and a good balance of potential content for the 2 main sections of the zine ("PLAY" & "MAKE").

if most people that have registered their name in the spreadsheet contributes something, we’ll end up with a very decently-sized first issue!

>>> on what to focus next

the next logical step is to, you know… actually start contributing!

the strategy is to first focus on the content (i.e. text articles) before figuring out how to present it (layout / design / illustration).

(even though stuff can be //ized + we already have made some great progress regarding the overall visual identity)

>>> deadlines! deadlines! deadlines!

even though we kinda have a lousy schedule for this first issue (expecting to launch anywhere during the 2nd semester) it’s important to fix some deadlines for contributions to keep the editing workload manageable.

so let’s fix 2 dates:

  • 26 july 24th: every article author should have figured out the topic of their future submission
  • 26 august 31rst: submission of the final draft of articles

to share your chosen topic, or if you need any assistance, either use the discord or PM me on lines.

let’s try to nonetheless keep some flexibility. we’re figuring things out as we progress (“building the plane while flying it”).

PS: don't put too much pressure on yourselves for this "final draft"

we basically mean “give us the most finished stuff you can”.

those draft would enter the proofreading / editing process, for which there would certainly be some back-and-forths…

please note that it’s very OK (& even encouraged) to share intermediary drafts to get continuous feedback & experiment early on with how an article would be laid out.

>>> figuring out what to write on…

some have already proposed topics for their articles, but for some others things aren’t figured out (yet).

ideally one should select stuff that is complementary to what is already proposed.

you can refer to this ever evolving outline document to see which proposals got already made.

but ultimately choose something that people (and especially you) are excited about!

one aim of this project is to make a snapshot of the current state of the community.

as a reminder the theme for this first issue is START, so we should prioritize rather entry-level topics.

… and in which tone <<<

we should strive to have balance between:

  • poetry & practicality
  • the subjective (relatable) & objective (technical)
  • serious long reads & silly bite-sized appetizers

select what fits you best, and don’t hesitate to mix & match!

on poetry

interpretation of poetry can be something super personal.

but if you need inspiration for it, think monome & WR module descriptions, magical realism, your favorite song you have your own interpretation for (mine’d probably be this one)…

of course MAP CORPS UNIVERSITY is also a great source of inspiration.
the post Queer Messy Maps is especially inspiring in its delicate balance between the aforementioned properties.




hey all, hope everything is going fine for everyone.

>>> a hefty pack of contributions

we managed to get a good amount of submissions (more or less) before the deadline.

(9 articles, so about 2/3rd of what got proposed)

we’ll start reviewing & proofreading those. this is also the occasion to experiment on how we’ll integrate them (thinking more seriously about layout, fonts, illustrations & the glue in between…).

those that manifested interest in those more visual aspects will get PM’d in a short while.

>>> meeting session #4

to help organize ourselves for those next steps, we’ll hold another meeting on the discord this coming weekend.

>>> call for contributors - articles (bis)

if you haven’t submitted an article yet, it’s not too late. we’ll just prioritize the integration efforts on those that arrived before.

(that doesn’t mean that if you feel stuck in your writing efforts we won’t provide help/feedback)

we’re especially looking for content about the experience of using norns.

so if you have a favorite musician / script author you’d like to interview, or wanna speak of your own experience (any favorite script?), hit us up.

>>> capture the excitement

one key goal of this project is to make a snapshot of the current energy.

if any event / release (music or script) / thread moved you (in the few last & following months), tell us and tell us why.

(just a single sentence works, you don’t have to necessarily write a whole article)

we’ll try to include those.


I was talking with @WilliamHazard about the highly contingent and windy paths that we took to end up here, talking on this forum, and he suggested answers to this question would make a good zine article (or a good Sound+Process episode).

Anyway, @Quru if you have answers and feel like sharing, I feel like this story would be great to read.

Similar questions: how did you come to lines, to modular synthesis, to norns, to “houseplant” music (or to non-houseplant music)? what keeps you here?


i’ve PM’d everyone concerning the editing & visual aspects (illustrations/photos + typesetting) of the project.

i’ve based myself upon the folkpower spreadsheet.

so if you feel you’ve been left out, PM me!


I’m just getting more active on the forum and found this amazing project. I’ve been a designer off and on for a decade, I have done digital marketing client work, and I have a small background with photography and videography.

I read through the post, got caught up on the git, and analyzed the moodboard. I love the vibe and tone of the zine.

I am thoroughly impressed with what the team has done so far. I’d like to help out where ever possible. I can contribute design, ideas, and maybe articles.

few ideas:

  • we have 2 styles so use 2 paper types? photo paper for the nice photos and plain monochrome for normal pages. it works on print and digital and minimizes costs. plus you on print you get the bit of excitement knowing a photo page is coming
  • condense forum posts to an article
  • transcribe videos to articles. simple talks can be transcribed like this oora video on a photography book or an artistic writer could annotate the process of an artist. how, why something is done and what it creates in an articulate and eloquent manner. then provide a qr to read and listen simultaneously
  • we could provide a page or 2 they can cut out for a growing set of our own ‘oblique strategies’
  • we could provide prompts or a creative process to try
  • we have the obvious book, video, and music recommendations but lets make it inspirational by providing challenges and discussions back on the lines forums. it would be cool to see something start here, join the conversation a bit, carry on with life, then see the article condensed down (with your own input as well) with other stuff you hadn’t caught up on.
  • short stories related to music, creativity, identity, process, other arts
  • ‘behind the zine’ behind the curtain of the process we took to create this zine

thats all i got for now, good nite.

edit: Books:

they have some other book builder options to explore