Portland, Ore., modern rockers Modest Mouse are working on some new material, but frontman Isaac Brock has been busy on the side.
Brock, under the moniker Ugly Casanova, was the primary creative force on the soundtrack for “180 Degrees South,” a new documentary recounting the 1968 journey to South America’s Patagonia region by clothing magnates Yvon Chouinard (Patagonia) and Douglas Tompkins (North Face). Brought into the project by neighbor James Mercer of the Shins and Broken Bells, Brock wound up churning out nine songs as well as additional contributions to the musical score.
“He just got into it and got really invested in it and ran with it and did some amazing stuff,” says Mercer, who worked with Brock on the score material and had been taken to Patagonia for inspiration in 2007 by film producer Emmett Malloy.
Mercer adds that Brock is “good at creating sort of textural passes on electric guitar, and that was the thing it seemed like Emmett had in mind. So I thought maybe a combination of what I would do on acoustic guitar and what Isaac would do on electric guitar would work as well. But really it became more than just a collaboration with Isaac. I was just happy to be involved.”
Malloy, who also co-founded the Brushfire Records label with his friend and client Jack Johnson, still marvels at how quick and prolific Brock was during soundtrack recording sessions in July 2009 at his studio in Portland.
“Isaac didn’t get to make the trip down there (to Patagonia), but he ended up as the guy who really scored this movie, kind of single-handedly, and called upon everybody he needed to make it work,” Malloy says. “He watched the footage and said, ‘I love what you guys are doing. I’d love to help out,’ and took it from there.”
“180 Degrees South,” which stars Jeff Johnson and was directed by Malloy’s cousin Chris Malloy, is available on DVD and Blu-ray, while the film is also making the rounds on the film festival circuit. The just-released soundtrack album also includes songs by Johnson, Mason Jennings and Love As Laughter.
Modest Mouse and Avi Buffalo perform Thursday and Friday, July 1-2, at the Royal Oak Music Theatre, 318 W. Fourth St.. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $35. Friday’s show is sold out. Call 248-399-2980 or visit www.royaloakmusictheatre.com.
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