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A Lonely Gust Toward the Heavens

by Make-Believe Machines

supported by
Allister Thompson
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Allister Thompson A beautiful mix of sweeping symphonic sounds with edgy electronics; like the best dystopian film soundtrack you've ever heard. Favorite track: Ghosts Made of Static.
Mike Templar
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Mike Templar This album is pure musical artwork! MB Machines shows clearly that he's not the standard EDM nor Classical composer - his tunes have intense power beyond usual and common perception and reaches depths not many people can express. Beautiful and deep melodies and compositions as well as perfectly mixed and mastered songs. Recommended in all ways.
All Stars: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Favorite track: The Restless Woods.
Nikoletta Winters
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Nikoletta Winters Absolutely heartbreaking album. Favorite track: Ghosts Made of Static.
more... more...


“a serious achievement in contemporary classical”
— Hïdrō

"One of my favorite records of the year. An incredible masterpiece from Iowa."
— Ayver

"...like the best dystopian film soundtrack you've ever heard"
— Allister Thompson

“...there is one thing that separates A Lonely Gust Toward the Heavens from the majority of the new music I’ve listened to this year: this album feels gigantic. It’s not often that you come across an artist who can so beautifully express what they want to say with their music, especially when it comes to instrumental music.”
— Love Across Lightyears

This second Make-Believe Machines full-length album comes eleven years after our debut. We've grown and changed a lot since then. Rob left the project, which makes this a first solo record for me.

I wrote this album as a way of processing a great deal of grief and loss that piled up over a couple years of my life. My friend and musical collaborator Jim DuRocher (The Twelve Canons) passed away in 2014, tragically concluding a long struggle with addiction. In the following years, my grandfather, Jim Key, slowly deteriorated and died from Alzheimer's, and my grandmother, Betty, passed after a long struggle with dementia.

In times like this, I've found some comfort in music which both acknowledges life's darkest moments and offers some amount of optimism and comfort. This album is my own attempt to contribute.

I've always connected with instrumental music, because without the specificity of lyrics, the listener is free to insert their own circumstances into the world of the song. It's my hope that the new pieces of music on this record can be some comfort to others in trying times.


released December 10, 2019

Composition, programming, bass, keys - Justin Norman
Co-composition on track 4 - Rob Ogden
Cello - Anna Kucera
Violin - Elaina Steenson

Recorded at various locations in Iowa
Mixed by Justin Norman at home in Des Moines, Iowa
Mastered by Elliot James at Blossöm Records in Los Angeles

Cover photographs by Lazurite (runner) and Neil DeMaster (forest)
Designed and edited by Justin Norman


all rights reserved



Make-Believe Machines Des Moines, Iowa

Neo-classical and soundtrack music composed by Justin Norman, performed with Anna Kucera, Elaina Steenson, Patrick Riley, and Scott Yoshimura.

Artist photo by Nick Ford.

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