Moral Calculus

by Make-Believe Machines

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Caynug Definitely a listen throughout experience! I love how in later songs elements from the first few songs start to appear or get hinted at again! Such wonderful composition were at times I felt like im free falling and just to slowly get tied together on the ground again. Distinct tracks, each so very unique on it's own, can't believe this has been released in 2008, it sounds so great! Favorite track: Thin Glass Islands on a Clouded Sea.
(free) 04:14


Moral Calculus is the debut album from Make Believe Machines, a collaborative composition project from Justin Norman and Rob Ogden. The album was designed specifically for full-length listening, as each song segues into the next, with multiple instrumental references in late-album tracks to earlier ones.


released September 2, 2008

Composed and performed by Justin Norman and Rob Ogden.
Violin contributions from Meredith Bogacz.
Cover photograph and art by Wesley Norman.


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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.

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Track Name: Punctured Placenta and Post-Birth Peril
"I'm definitely not sure."
Track Name: Fallen Shackles of a Weathered Jouster
"You'll notice about 80% of all the hits that have ever been out in the marketplace -- they follow a traditional song pattern, which is verse, chorus, verse, bridge, chorus, and out."

"We are like Pavlov's dog as listeners."

"And every time you hear a song, look at Billboard and say 'Oh, that's so-and-so and they're chart number 32.'"

"You know how you write better songs? By listening to other people's hits."

"What happens when you get in your car in the morning and you turn on the radio and there's a new song on there and it's got a 37-second long intro? You change the station, don't you? You think it's an instrumental song! What the hell station am I tuned in to here?"

Shackled to a dead horse, long over-beaten
He jousted in the dense fog of the walking comatose
His lance did splinter, now wrought with repairs
But the blunted end has proved more useful

Freedom sparked at dawn's edge
Track Name: Thin Glass Islands on a Clouded Sea
We stowed our hopes into the brightest of dream clouds
And locked them inside our fathers' wooden ships, cloaked in old shrouds

We struck out across dark waves, straining to make precise of the vague, ancient orders

Searchlights cut the deep
Distract, blindingly

We stare or we sail on

The truth shifts through cracks upon a twisting landscape
While the clock sprouts legs and darts away

Twenty years at sea, and at times it seems we've found it
Penned down and circled on our ragged parchment

Through trial and revision...

Well, we can discern some of the dangerous waters,
but the safe realm seems to elude us

We tried to find firm land but the map was too blurred by red ink

We freeze up or we sail on

It seems the land's thin glass / It seems the trees drink glass

We slip on crack-filled planks
Our minds all draw us blanks

We tried to find the truth, but our ship was too weighed and sinks