Art GTD Music

Randomization vs Gear Aquisition Syndrome

This past year in preparation for moving to a new place, I cleaned up some of the clutter I had accumulated in my life.  Among these things – old clothes, broken things that I never fixed and things in the back of the closet that I hadn’t touched for years.  However, I retained most of the music equipment, instruments, and music software.

I decided to hold onto these things because I wanted to hold onto the idea of recording music.  I wanted to hold onto all the beautiful combinations of instruments where I can forge out my musical identity unhindered and unafraid.  This presented a few problems, as we shall see.

  • Gear Aquisition Syndrome – this may mean different things to different people.  As of this moment for me, this phrase represents an avoidance technique whereby someone substitutes the purchase of an item for actually using it.  When the time comes to use the item, you magically find something else to buy.  I licked this problem years ago.  I stopped buying things but still retained almost everything I purchased.  I even selected a few items to either trash or share with my friends.  This brings us to our next problem…
  • Too Many Choices – yet another avoidance technique in which we simply overwhelm ourselves from ever getting out of the startup gate.  It seems so seductive to think that things will be easier when you have all these choices.  Years ago, I bought my very first guitar multi-effects unit and instantly I had very convenient access to many sounds.  Prior to that, I had a drawerful of pedals.  Something I noticed is that right around that time, my recording activity dropped off.  It was as if I was stunned.  It only got worse once I got the money to buy more multi-effects, more pedals, more instruments and then DAWs (96 tracks?  No problem!) and software.  Literally thousands of choices – which did not translate to thousands of songs.
  • These two things seem to feed each other.  I’d get paralyzed by the amount of choices I had and would buy something new and be even more paralyzed.  Crazy!

At some point a few years ago, I decided to set into motion some constraints.  Off the top of my head, I’d pull out two guitars and a bass and a few pedals (or VSTs) and leave everything else in closets or drawers.  I’d stick to the same equipment until I got bored with what I was doing and then call it a “project.”  I released a few more mini-albums.  This worked better but still presented some issues.  For one, I still knew that I had all that stuff in the closet and I was forgetting that some of it was even there.  Secondly, I still faced too many choices in all the options we have for writing songs – keys, number of verses, my backlog of lyrical and musical sketches that I have never stopped doing.

Around the same time, I started getting into GTD – Getting Things Done by David Allen.  It’s a system that helps you organize things into lists and helps you go back to those lists and be true to them.  It worked wonders at my job and with recent medical issues.  So I started putting musical activities – mostly tutorials and books –  into my lists.  I did OK with this for a while – it worked great for lyrics (I’d schedule object writing or writing prompts for each night) and remixing things in the can.  I was writing a set of lyrics every day earlier in 2016.  Lots of backlog.   Lots of archival releases.  Little in terms of new finished material.  What I found was that learning just for the sake of learning – without a real goal – can also be a bit boring.

Here’s what I am embarking on now –

  • Create lists for many if not all aspects of a song – bass sound choices, how many guitars, what key, song length, which midi controller…so many.  I came up with over 20 lists.
  • Weight the lists accordingly – so for instance, I have a great Aria bass, a decent Epiphone bass and some fretless and multi-stringed ones that I have limited facility on.  I also like synth bass.  So created a list that had ten occurrences of Aria, 6 of Epi, 3 synths and 1 of the rest.  I also included a line for 2 bass sounds and 3 bass sounds.
  • Plug these lists into
  • Schedule any learning, reading or recording time based on what I have randomized
  • Important list I have is “maximum tracks” – this should help me finish.

I committed to writing one song by the end of January.  Comment and wish me luck, please!




Teisco Del Ray "Tulip" Guitar

via Flickr July 07, 2008 at 06:47PM


Astral Weeks by Vowel Samples

I recorded this Van Morrison cover myself in 2014.  Appears on my free-for-download album “Cold Cover Calibration” –


Nacho, by Jimmy Lem – 2006


Jimmy Lem – Cold Cover Calibration

Never really much of a “covers” player…this year, after some absence from active recording, I have put together this rather awkward collection of rather awkward covers featuring my rather awkward singing and playing – free to download, just put in $0 under “name your price” –


Time For A Story by Unqua Drill Boys

The original unaltered mix of something I participated in and recorded/mixed back in 1996


My Creative Oozings

Due to work and other commitments over the past year or so, I can’t get myself in the recording mindset.  I can’t get relaxed or fertile enough with a nice span of free time ahead of me to get involved in any project at all.  Yet, the creative stuff still oozes out.

I should pause here to mention that my projects include not only music but photography, painting, electronics, circuit-bending, sculpting, drawing, web design, coding, my IT day job, hacking anything…even just pure sound…and computer and analog edits slash mixdowns slash remixes of all of these things and sharing these works online…and absorbing new influences and learning new things.

So what I can do now here today is share some of my way, my workflow – the software that I have been using to capture my creative oozings and ideas with the hope that these can be worked out (or simply released “as is”) later, snippets of lyrics, written chord progressions and concepts – even new band names & just pure stream-of-consciousness BS and not-so-BS outpouring and sketches – things that might lead to quick guitar demos, poems or something visual.

Overall, I like to have nice reliable ways to make these things “talk” to each other so of the following have exporting or connecting features.   I also appreciate a bare-bones design – no ads, no “likes”, no social This can be too distracting for me

750 Words – http://750wordscom – kinda based on “The Artist’s Way” without all the spiritual hoo-hah, this site allows you all day to write roughly three pages by the end of the day I can’t keep up with the daily routine but I did get a lot out of me – creative and other conflicts – when I did use it for roughly a month

Draft – http://draftincom – a nice version controlled unassuming notepad with some intelligent editing and versioning features – I’m writing on this right now

Pocket – http://getpocketcom – you can save bookmarked websites this way – sometimes I will see something inspirational that I will want to try or read later.  I can find inspiration from random sites much the same way that I used to walk around public libraries looking for a phrase or photo to remember and set me off to go back on my own and write about.  I usually don’t/can’t dig too deep into my influences – watching or reading something for a short time will usually cause my mind to drift into something I can then do with my own hands because I never really stop sythesizing how art makes me feel.  As a musician, I have not placed much value in “cover songs” – having learned almost none myself but I am also not fooling myself Everything creative is inspired by something as far as I am concerned

Google Drive – http://drivegooglecom – meshes nicely with Gmail and other Google things and Android and Windows. I tend to use this as a place to create new blank docs or spreadsheets of anything from random sentences to photos to lyrics to folders of more full fledged projects where all of these things are together.  When I folder starts to get full, I try to either get working on it or split it into different things.  I’m free to do anything I want here without investing too much time until the idea is at least something I want to try.  As it is, I’m very open to finishing almost anything just to see how it comes out – I try to keep all my old prejudices and rules at the door and just let it flow.

If This Then That – IFTTT – http://iftttcom – a great way to make  social media talk to each other (for instance I use this to broadcast photos I upload to Flickr over to a Facebook page, my Twitter feed (which in turn feeds my personal FB wall), my WordPress blog, my Tumblr) Caledars can be synced. Also, you can do some cool things like watch a weather feed and have it message your phone every morning when you are off to work.  It’s a simple, graceful little site that makes something that should be more complicated not so much – sure, some social media allows for connections to all social media but this bridges what you can do there, sometimes gives you a nicer looking choice.

Do It – – the heart of my internal scheduling system – the thing that tells me when to read another chapter of Pynchon, wash the bathroom floor, import another cassette into the computer, take my meds, get on the exercise bike and record a little bit of music every once in a while.




Recorded by Jim Lemanowicz with Sony DSC-W50 on 12 May 2007via Flickr
Music Video

Radio Probe by Manhattan Rubber



“Dry” by Stinkfinger Overdrive

“Dry” by Stinkfinger Overdrive

Recorded, performed and mixed by Jim Lemanowicz at the Blissville Electro-Magnetic Laboratories for Blister Pop Unlimited (2010).

This appears on the album “Third Man Creme” –