Lost Futures

lost futures

Bass synth for the Norns inspired by the Roland TB-303.


Created as a way to learn and explore the platform, and answer a need for a portable bass synth I could mess around with.

“Invited to think of the futuristic, we will still come up with something like the music of Kraftwerk, even though this is now as antique as Glenn Miller’s big band jazz was when the German group began experimenting with synthesizers in the early 1970s.” ― Mark Fisher, Ghosts of My Life: Writings on Depression, Hauntology and Lost Futures

The sound engine is based on a TB-303 simulator found in overtone.


A MIDI controller. A step sequencer is probably the best for this.


  • k2 - previous control panel
  • k3 - next control panel
  • e1, e2, e3 - control the paramters in the control panel in focus


v1.1.0 - https://github.com/dzautner/lost-futures/archive/v1.1.0.zip



  • Fix issue where background won’t be visible because the repo name and path name didn’t match
  • Changed script name to lost-futures instead of lost_futures so it won’t be displayed twice in the script list
  • Connect to all MIDI devices instead of only port 1

Video Walkthrough


i am loving your UI and screen drawing here! :heart_eyes:


What an appropriate name for a TB-303 bass synth! Installing straight away :smiley:

1 Like

just installed! it seems there is a slight bug/typo in the paths of your png display function that causes the images not to load.

Lost Futures installs as lost-futures instead of lost_futures, which breaks your png paths on lines 133-137.

simply changing the folder name to lost_futures fixed it for me.


Same. They can be made relative with


The background image on the UI is great! Canabalt anyone?

Also – is this thing really really loud? Watch you ears everyone!


Right on time.

I’m in an acid mood lately and was playing with Venom VB-303 the other day.



super cool!

i’m not seeing the background graphics on my norns screen though.
i see they are in the folder but they are not appearing when i launch the script.

does this only work on MIDI input 1?

Hi guys! thanks so much for all the positive feedback. I really like how active and supportive the community is.

I just released a new version fixing the issues with the background and now listening to all MIDI ports.

@SPIKE this should resolve both of the issues you have experienced.

@xmacex Thanks! I wanted the aesthetics to give this exact feeling.

Also – is this thing really really loud?

Yes! You can get it even louder with the BST knob :wink:


I get a “error: missing lostfutures” message.

@yghartsyrt As the script registers a new sc engine you might have to restart the device after installing. Let me know if the issue persists

Edit: Now it worked.

1 Like

Ha I came to post that too. Nostalgia for giving myself motion sickness on first iphone, and hanging out with the creator and other cool indie game people at Gamecity nottingham :slight_smile:

This script looks great, can’t wait to try.


It’s cool but as @xmacex stated it’s hella loud.
Like norns’ compressor acts as a limiter -loud.

The engine level could help being turned waaaaay down.

1 Like

Safety matters :safety_vest:

If rubbing synth knobs would make a djinni :genie:‍♂ appear and they would grant me a single wish to change in norns hardware design, it would be to add a global, physical, un-overrideable and easily accessible volume hardware control :level_slider:


@eigen @xmacex

Point taken - I connect the Norns to my Focusrite where I moderate the volume. I also might have attended one too many raves without ear protection.

What would be the best way to make sure the script is in line with the volume of other scripts? Just plug my headphones straight to the Norns and try to normalize for that setup?

Yeah, or make it so the audio level bar in norns mixer doesn’t seem to get stuck to the max value when playing midi notes with a velocity of 127.

You could compare with various randomly generated presets from molly_the_poly and get in the same ballpark.

When I tested your script, I remember having to lower the output level by 1/4th of its normal value to get there.

1 Like

amazing work on this. sounds so good and the visuals are stunning. rip mark fisher.


Hiii, can someone give me a hint on how to install this through maiden? I’ve been avoiding these download scripts but I’d love to give it a pop :slight_smile:

In Maiden: just toogle REPL, click connect to matron if is not connnected, and type:

;install https://github.com/dzautner/lost-futures

then enter and wait

1 Like