While typesetters provide important services for performers in many different artistic disciplines, the French Alain Joule is a former professional typesetter who has become involved in music, dance, theater, poetry, performance art, and sound installations. On recordings he has collaborated with a variety of European avant-garde improvisers including the expatriate American bassist Barre Phillips and reed player Michel Doneda. Highlights of the Joule catalog of important original compositions include "Its on Its," a title only a typesetter might come up with, written for an extensive cast including orchestra, soloist, dancers, architects, and mimes. This work was presented by the Experimental Orchestra of Montpellier in 1983. He has also written "Rebound on the Moon" for clarinet and orchestra and "The Second Mirror" for a trio of voices and a quartet of instrumentalists, and was a collaborator in the creation of "Noise of Times" with Bernard Noelle, Phillips, Bertrand Vivin, and vocalist Annick Nozati.
Joule's extensive work combining music, theater, dance, and performance includes a selection of pieces composed to take place at specific outdoor locations, in an interaction with nature. In the mid-'90s he formed an excellent trio with Doneda and Phillips, resulting in the recording entitled Emouvance. He also also published a collection of poetry and miniature musical performances based on the activities of birds. Joule began his musical studies at the Conservatory of Marseilles, which would certainly love to take credit for encouraging such diverse interests. He began performing professionally at the age of 17, playing both percussion in orchestra settings and drum set in rhythm & blues bands. The North American audience was finally introduced to Joule live when the Sta Bar Var Quartet toured Canadian jazz festivals. Phillips and Joule were joined in this ensemble by bassist Ken Filiano and multi-instrumentalist Vinny Golia. Joule's "Cosmic Clocks," described as a "visual and poetic installation," has toured American campuses, including Wisconsin's Beloit College.