Diego Manatrizio, aka Flaaryr, knows how to make music, even from trash

As we enter Post-húsið, the headquarters of Reykjavík-based music collective Post-dreifing, we see Diego Manatrizio gesturing over strange objects: a toy xylophone, a small piano, an alarm clock and even a traffic cone, like a wizard conjuring a spell over a bubbling cauldron of magic potion with his trusty wand. Well, swap out the wand for a wand and Diego is nothing less than a modern-day wizard, extracting magical sounds from ordinary objects. Tonight we are at ‘Allt er hljóðfæri’ or ‘Everything is an instrument’ – one of the many improvisation evenings that Diego leads.


“Right now I’m a full-time musician,” says Diego, who is perhaps better known by his stage name Flaaryr. Diego’s work knows few or no boundaries. “I never place myself in a particular genre,” he says. “But I think my music has elements of minimalism, rhythmic experimentation, a bit of noise, a bit of ambiance, a bit of math rock,” he continues, noting that these are genres that have been very influential to him growing up. “What defines it the most is just the loops and the rhythmic experimentation.”

Find music in unexpected places

“I do improvisations from sounds that aren’t exactly considered musical instruments,” he says. An example is his “trash set” – an improvisation in which he takes objects from dumpsters and places contact microphones there. “I think the moment I decided to start using junk with contact mics was when I thought, ‘What if instead of modifying conventional musical instruments like a guitar, I put all the ’emphasis on these random objects and the objects are the instruments themselves?'”

One of the objects with musical qualities that surprised Diego turned out to be a mirror. “A mirror doesn’t have much resonance. If you knock on it, not much will happen,” he says. “But if you put water on it and move your fingers, it makes a really interesting shrill sound. Depending on how much pressure you apply with your fingers, the pitch of that sound changes in a really surprisingly wide range.

Guitar or flamingo?

In one of his upcoming shows at the RUSL Sustainable Design Festival, Diego won’t be playing guitar at all. “In this set, I will only play with a mirror and a garden decoration which is a metal flamingo. It’s going to be completely different from what I’ve ever played,” Diego shares. “The theme of this festival is about sustainability and the reuse of objects generally considered as waste. I thought it was interesting to make my set very close to the concept of the festival. It’s a good situation to see what will happen if I don’t have a guitar and have to rely on these very unpredictable objects.

Intuitive music for the masses

In addition to preparing for live performances, Diego has been working on a new album, “Dagur Tónlistar Innsæisins” or “A Day of Intuitive Music”, which will be released in November.

“Music can mean so many things. There are no checkboxes. »

“It’s my first composition project in which I won’t be the performer,” he explains. Starting in July, Diego plans to launch an open call for people interested in participating in the project.

“I will invite 24 people who cannot play any instrument. Each of them will play an hour of improvisation, with lots of random instruments and objects that I will give them and record them playing solo improvisations one by one. From these 24 hours of completely improvised music, I will make 24 short pieces only by cutting and rearranging them, without doing any sound processing or anything like that. So I will compose using improvisations as a source”, shares Diego.

Choose your own instrument

The idea for the project was born a year ago when Diego started organizing improvisation evenings, just like the one we attend while talking. “The concept is quite simple,” he says, adding, “It’s just 100% open improvisation in a space full of instruments. And anyone, absolutely anyone is welcome to join and play any instrument they like. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never played an instrument before, or if you’re a guitarist and want to pick up a trumpet, you’re most welcome. There are no musical guidelines.

An alarm clock and a toy xylophone are part of Diego’s set

“The whole point of this project is to tell people that everyone is qualified enough to make music. Music can mean so many things, and in this case, there are no checkboxes,” he smiles with a smile so sincere you start to believe it’s true “You can have no training and still make amazing music.”

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