Electronic music has lost another visionary. Dennis Barton, co-founder of LA-based electronic music outfit Skylab2000, died on Saturday at the age of 54. The cause of death has not yet been revealed. Barton co-founded his outfit with Stuart Breidenstein in 1994, later adding singer Alissa Kueker. In 1996 he went solo.
Skylab2000 was a dominant presence in the West Coast rave scene in the ’90s, releasing music on Moonshine, Koch, Journeys by DJ, Phatt Phunk, 3am Records, Brainiak, City of Angels, Genesis Project, Metronix, Starblocks, and Starshagger. Barton became a staple on the U.S. rave circuit, performing live all over the U.S. and internationally. He also remixed high-profile artists including Paul Oakenfold. More recently, he focused on his work as an electrical engineer specializing in commercial LED lighting, micro controllers and audio products.
“Dennis was one of the the hardest-working people I’ve ever encountered in the scene,” James Lumb of Electric Skychurch tells Big Shot. “He was a gentle, warm person that made fantastic electronic music. I admired his live performances — a big live synth sound, with an energetic bite and driving melodies. His shows were never the same twice, and his studio work was influenced by his live experience — it made his records stand out. I’ll miss the way he connected people, inconspicuously and without a lot of fanfare, year after year. His heart was always in the right place.”
Lumb, whose group ran in similar circles, frequently shared bills with Burton. “We played together often in LA, and I also ran into him a lot at social events. We intersected at NAMM over the years as well. The last time we played together was for Pasquale at Q-Topia in Hollywood in the early ’00s.
“I remember speaking with him onstage in a panel discussion at UC Irvine, and while the other panelists had little to say, Dennis and I told rave stories and got a lot of great laughs from the audience. He was funny!”