Base Odyssey

base-odysseyOriginating in Alexandria, St. Ann, Jamaica, Bass Odyssey is one of the few that still maintain the authentic sound system format of huge amplified portable speakers, stacked as columns for a live performance. Founder and owner Keith Walford was involved with music from an early age. After graduating from York Castle High in 1976, young Keith who joined his father’s local mechanic business, partnered with him to expand it by adding the service of being a vendor and operator of juke boxes and gaming machines across the island. As both a hobby and small business gig, young Keith would play vinyl and cassettes on his massive component set at small events such as weddings and birthday parties. Simultaneous with his increasing demand was the re-emergence of the sound system era in the Jamaican entertainment scene in the mid 1980s which inspired his path to establish the Bass Odyssey Sound System in 1989. For this reason, many dispute the established date of Bass Odyssey Sound System as 1989 due to the earlier career of Keith as a Dj and selector himself playing at numerous local gigs. Initially the transition involved Walford, close friend at the time Bunny Hayles, Winston and first official selector Tinna- One.

Bass Odyssey quickly became a household name due to their notorious clashing style which dominated the peak of the modern sounclash era in the early – mid 1990s. Keith moved on to play a dual managerial role with Hayles and Tinna-One was joined by Glamma G. Winston had gone on to pursue other business activities. Around 1991, Kevin Squingy Bennett, fresh out of Ferncourt High joined the team as a drum machine player. Tinna-One took up opportunity and migrated to England and Glamma G and Squingy quickly rose to stardom as ‘the juggling/clashing twins’ due to the slight physical resemblance and unmatched energy. Around this time (early 1990s) the Bass Odyssey name had taken flight and had garnered a huge following in the Jamaican diaspora in USA, Canada and the UK. With frequent tour dates the team expanded to include Lenny, a longtime sidekick of Glamma G (both had worked together on Amplex Sound System from Spanish Town) and later Dwayne, Worm and Skinny.

Bass Odyssey has evolved from an image notorious for clashing to also include become Jamaican musical ambassador. In 2011, Dj Mark went on to pursue other career paths after a colourful foundation with Bass Odyssey and passed the baton on to an energetic young team, quite a few of whom worked as protoje’s under the influence of Squingy up until his death in 2009.

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