t h r e e . s t a t e s . o f . w a x

photo by Seth Josel........

Juan Parra Cancino (guitar, computer, electronics) & Jonathan Impett (trumpet, computer, electronics)

Orpheus Institute, Ghent, Belgium


Three States of Wax

What is the material of improvisation? The title and approach derive from philosopher of science Michel Serres’ investigation of the materials of physics. Developing Decartes’ thought experiment of a piece of wax (always the same, always different), Serres identifies three views: the object as perceived, the object as described in terms of its properties, and the object as an informational nexus that not only embodies the entire history of its own genesis and interaction, but is further transformed in each encounter or interrogation.The latter, he suggests, is the appropriate view in an informational world.

Improvised electro-acoustic music is paradigmatic of contemporary practise in many ways – it raises questions of the nature of material and its representation, of the distribution of authorship and the emergence of form.

In Three States of Wax, information is exchanged, compared and processed in a range of modes. The difference between these modes is the engine of the music – a Lacanian motor of real-symbolic-imaginary. Three States of Wax adds a new layer to those of processed live instruments. The apparent incommensurability of custom individual systems becomes adynamical network; the central ‘difference engine’ becomes an independent voice, using analog sounds to reveal the inner dynamics of the emerging form.

Media Examples

February 29, 2020. New York Electroacoustic Summit. New York, USA

“Sublimation”, from “Time Crystal”, an album of Three States of Wax in collaboration with Chris Chafe.
Album released in Ravello records. More information here.

Three States of Wax + RMO: 2023 session in collaboration with Ruben Martinez Orio (percussion).

Winter Sounds Festival, Canterbury, UK. Photo by Seth Josel

New York Electroacoustic Summit, New York, USA. Photo by Jeff Kaiser

Downtown Music Gallery, New York, USA. With Keir Neuringer.

IRCAM forum 30th Anniversary, IRCAM, Paris, FR. Photo by Neil Leonard



January 24, 2020. Winter Sounds Festival, Canterbury, UK.


February 29, 2020. New York Electroacoustic Summit. New York, USA.


March 1, 2020. Downtown Music Gallery. New York, USA. With Keir Neuringer.


November 8, 2020. NowNetArts Conference 2020.


March 19, 2021. New York Electroacoustic Summit, with Chris Chafe.


November 5, 2021. New Pathways in Improvisation Conference.


December 12, 2021. NowNetArts Festival 2021.


March 20, 2024. IRCAM forum 30th Anniversary.


April 12, 2024. Opening Electronic Music Studio, University of Limerick.

Technical requirements

"provided" marks the elements that we will be traveling with.


1 guitar, 1 trumpet PROVIDED


• Stereo sound system

• Mixer onstage of at least 8 channels of input and 4 of output (Mackie 1402 or similar)

• 2 portable powered audio monitors

• 1 good big membrane condenser microphone (AKG C414 or similar)

• A combo guitar amplifier

• 1 miniature condenser microphone (DPA 4061 or similar) PROVIDED

• cables (5 XLR of 10 m, 6 jacks of at least 5 m.)

• 2 Computers for live electronics and sound projection PROVIDED

• 2x Audio interface with at least 2 microphone inputs and 4 outputs (MOTU Ultralite or similar) PROVIDED

VIDEO (Optional):

• Computer for visual projections PROVIDED

1 projector


• 2 Tables to be set on stage (approx. 1,5M X 1M) as neutral as possible.

• Enough Power outlets for both tables setups

CONTACT: jotaparra[at]gmail[dot]com