music? j/k: Music by Jan Krueger

Hi!

I'm Jan. Nice to have you here.

Introduction

I write and record music in my spare time. Most of it I end up publishing here, even some of the less good songs. Pretty much everything you're hearing is me, even though I don't have a real drum kit nor a real grand piano, so some of this is punched into a computer. By me.

Is there anything else that needs to be said? I don't know. So, here's a » list of all songs.

Steal my songs!

I'm a very generous person. Lucky you! You can listen to and download these songs as often as you want, and give them to all your friends. You may even create your own stuff based on them, or integrate them into your video, podcast or whatever.

Conditions

  • Whenever you give this song or something based on it to someone else (copy, offer for download, broadcast, ...), you have to mention this website (see below for the many cases in which you don't actually have to do that). Something as simple as "downloaded from music-jk.net" is quite enough). I'm no rich guy, I can't afford real advertising. Thanks a bunch!
  • If you make your own stuff using one of my songs, you have to put the same kind of terms on your creation. I'd also appreciate a short e-mail because I like to hear that people actually care about my music.

Here's the Creative Commons deed that explains all the details (even in Legalese if you feel like hurting your head):

Exceptions

Admittedly, mentioning this website is kinda tedious. Tell you what: if you pass on an audio file with not a single bit changed, I officially allow you to skip the advertising thing. Different file formats are okay, too, as long as you use a decent bitrate (at least 128 kbps) and keep the tags (author information, file comment etc.) unchanged. But only then! You still have to do the spam when you have to use a low bitrate or a file format that doesn't support tags, if you copy it around on an audio CD or tape or, I don't know, a vinyl record.

If you want to include a song of mine in something non-commercial that you made, but you want to use a different license than I do, let me know. I'm quite sure we can work something out.

Commercial licensing (scrapping the "share alike" condition for commercial works) is not really available at this time, though I do sometimes make exceptions. Please contact me if you're interested.

The story

There were many days of merry music-making before I launched this website.

I first made my own music many years ago, when I was about thirteen years old, though I had been humming and strumming improvised tunes and harmonies way before that. I started out seriously composing music on the PC, using the classic demoscene tool ScreamTracker. Trackers are programs that allow you to play basic samples in varying speeds (to simulate different pitches) on a number of channels, plus a number of simple effects.

I've long been an enthusiastic listener of pop a cappella music (i.e. modern music without instruments) and a guitar player, though, and so it was almost unavoidable that I would eventually expand my aspirations. I let myself get talked into joining a local choir in mid 2005 and eventually I became confident enough in my singing abilities that I tried recording el-cheapo multi-track vocals snippets by myself. After a bit of experimenting, the result sounded rather encouraging, so I invested actual money into the next steps and gradually expanded my setup to be able to make "real" music.

My first attempts were all a cappella songs (I finished my first very own song around October 2006, I think). They yielded surprisingly positive feedback among people I knew (perhaps they were just unwilling to flame me to death) but I quickly figured out that it's really difficult to get something interesting-sounding when all you have is several layered copies of the same voice, so I started looking into adding instruments.

Today I own three guitars, one voice, several microphones, a mixing panel, a mid-grade recording sound card, and some awesome pieces of software. Tied together, they are my in-bedroom home studio. (This is outdated because it's history. Isn't that a great excuse for not updating this section?)

Music things I've bought

Okay, if you really care that much...

  • Guitars:
    • Nylon acoustic: custom series
    • Steel acoustic: Ibanez V72ECE
    • Electric: Yamaha Pacifica 112
    • Electric bass: Yamaha something something
    • Wannabe amp: Roland Micro Cube & ZOOM G2
  • Voice: mine
  • MIDI master keyboard: Studiologic VMK-88
  • Various instruments: percussion gizmos, xaphoon, various recorders, ocarina
  • Microphones:
    • 1" studio condenser: Studio Projects B1 (by 797audio)
    • Dynamic: Sennheiser e835
    • Dynamic: the t.bone MB85 Beta (a thomann.de brand)
  • Mixer: Yamaha MG 10/2
  • Sound card: E-MU 0404 PCI
  • Monitor speakers: Behringer MS16 (welcome to a world without bass)
  • Headphones: Beyerdynamic DT-770 Pro, AKG K518 DJ
  • Software:
    • REAPER
    • Audacity
    • E-MU Proteus X LE
    • Jamstix 3
    • Independence Pro (by magix, formerly by yellow tools)
    • 4Front TruePianos
    • Lots of free VST plugins

I have secret plans to get all musical instruments that exist, and learn to play all of them. If you happen to have one that you don't need anymore and that isn't listed here, and preferably one that doesn't take up too much space, I'll be happy to take it off of you.

The site

Apparently, some people really like the music I make. In September 2008, one of them talked me into launching a dedicated site for it. Here it is.

Before that, I tried to publish music in my blog. I guess when you have a hammer, all problems start looking like nails. Suffice to say, it just ended up being a horrible mess.

"Now that I'm writing my own stupid little website to publish music," I thought to myself while hacking this together, "why not go all out?" And I did. Not only does each song have a plethora of pointless trivia attached to it, but you can also give very detailed feedback if you are so inclined. You can almost write the songs for me, just by visiting the website, that's how much feedback you can give me with minimal effort. In other words: you're almost a songwriter if you give me feedback, so giving me feedback now will probably make you incredibly famous!

We're not going to go overboard, though. In particular, I'm not going to ask you to create yet another stupid account on yet another mini website. I'm sure you'll appreciate that. All the bonus material I'd otherwise give to registered users only, I'll give to everyone, and to you in particular. Doesn't that make you feel special?

Talk to me!

I appreciate any feedback you can give me. Preferably constructive feedback. You can either contact me privately or comment directly on the page of an individual song.

What kind of feedback?

Well, you can't go wrong if you tell me about:

  • Rough edges. Sometimes I miss bad things when I mix a song, perhaps a wrong note or a washing machine running in the background. You'll get a pretend cookie if you point these things out to me.
  • Things that just sound yucky. This is, of course, a matter of taste, but especially if you can pinpoint what exactly puts you off (and, perhaps, even describe how you'd have done it differently), I'll be happy to collect ideas. Heck, perhaps you'll even convince me and I'll change it, in which case you could feel extremely important.
  • Accidental violations of copyright. All my songs are original works. Since I fear money-addicted lawyers and collecting societies, I'd wager that a two-note sequence that shows up in some other song is probably close enough to a violation of copyright that they'll try and bury me in warning letters. Some people are crazy like that. If you suspect problems like that in one of my songs, let me know and I'll buy you a beer the next time we marry.
  • Things you really liked. The laws of statistics are on my side in that at it's almost certain that at least one person in the world will love one of my songs. Let's assume for a moment that this person is you... this means that you are the only person in the world who likes my song. You're under a moral obligation to tell me about it (in great detail, if at all possible), lest I be swamped with nothing but hate mail.