In the Flat Field

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In the Flat Field
Studio album by Bauhaus
Released 1 October 1980
Recorded 4 December 1979 at BBC Maida Vale Studios, London; June–July 1980 at Southern Studios, London, England
Genre Post-punk, gothic rock
Length 38:45
Label 4AD
Producer Bauhaus
Bauhaus chronology
In the Flat Field

In the Flat Field is the debut studio album by English gothic rock band Bauhaus. It was released on 1 October 1980 by record label 4AD. It is considered one of the first gothic rock records.


Following a 30-date tour, Bauhaus set out to Southern Studios in London to record their first album. As the band had a clear conception of what they wanted the record to sound like, they opted to produce it themselves. While most of the album was completed with the planned release date of September 1980, the group found it difficult to record a version of "Double Dare" as good as the one they performed on disc jockey John Peel's BBC Radio 1 programme. Bauhaus applied to the BBC to use the Peel sessions version, but due to obstructions from the Musicians Union, the process took over a month.[1]


In the Flat Field was released on 1 October 1980. It topped the independent charts,[citation needed] and peaked on the UK Albums Chart at number 72.[citation needed]

The album was first released on CD by 4AD in April 1988, with eight bonus tracks including the singles "Dark Entries", "Terror Couple Kill Colonel" and a cover of T. Rex's "Telegram Sam."[2] Five of these bonus tracks had been previously compiled on the 4AD EP in 1983.[3]

On October 19, 2009, 4AD/Beggars Banquet reissued the album as an Omnibus Edition, featuring the 24-bit remastered CD of the original 9-track album in a replica mini-LP sleeve (with corresponding inner sleeve featuring the lyrics), plus a 16-song bonus disc of singles, outtakes, alternate recordings and original versions. The set comes inside a semi-long box, coupled with a 48-page book that includes comments from band members, photos, complete lyrics, complete tour date information for 1979 and 1980 and an essay by Kevin Brooksbank on the formation and creation of the band, the singles and the album.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[4]
Drowned in Sound 9/10[5]
NME negative[6]
Sounds negative[7]

While In the Flat Field received positive reviews in fanzine publications, the album was "absolutely slated" by the British weekly music press, according to Bauhaus biographer Ian Shirley.[8] The NME review described the album as "nine meaningless moans and flails bereft of even the most cursory contour of interest, a record which deserves all the damning adjectives usually leveled at grim-faced 'modernists'."[6] Sounds' review was also negative: "No songs. Just tracks (ugh). Too priggish and conceited. Sluggish indulgence instead of hoped for goth-ness. Coldly catatonic."[7] Despite the negative reviews, In the Flat Field topped the independent charts, and made the UK Albums Chart for one week, peaking at number 72.[9]

In its retrospective review, AllMusic praised the album, writing "few debut albums ever arrived so nearly perfectly formed; that In the Flat Field practically single-handedly invented what remains for many as the stereotype of goth music—wracked, at times spindly vocals about despair and desolation of many kinds, sung over mysterious and moody music—demonstrates the sui generis power of both the band and its work".[4]


In 2012, Sonic Seducer magazine listed In the Flat Field at number 4 in its list "10 Key Albums for the Gothic Scene", calling it a work that had shattered outdated ideas of rock music.[10]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Bauhaus (Peter Murphy, Daniel Ash, David J, Kevin Haskins), except as noted. 

Side A
No. Title Length
1. "Double Dare"   4:54
2. "In the Flat Field"   5:00
3. "A God in an Alcove"   4:08
4. "Dive"   2:13
5. "The Spy in the Cab"   4:31
Side B
No. Title Length
1. "Small Talk Stinks"   3:35
2. "St. Vitus Dance"   3:31
3. "Stigmata Martyr"   3:46
4. "Nerves"   7:06
Note: In Canada, the single "Telegram Sam" was included as track two on Side B.


  • Paul Cook – engineering
  • Glen Campling – track layout
  • Eugene Marinov – sleeve photography (of Daniel Ash)
  • Geoff Smith – sleeve photography (of David J)
  • Stella Watts – sleeve photography (of Kevin Haskins)
  • Piers Bannister – sleeve photography (of Peter Murphy)
  • Duane Michals – front cover photograph, Homage to Puvis de Chavannes


  1. ^ Shirley 1994, p. 43.
  2. ^ Brooksbank 1997, p. 150.
  3. ^ Brooksbank 1997, p. 164.
  4. ^ a b Raggett, Ned. "In the Flat Field – Bauhaus : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards : AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 22 February 2013. 
  5. ^ Gourlay, Dom (27 October 2009). "Bauhaus Re-Issues: In the Flat Field and Mask Omnibus Editions Reviewed / In Depth // Drowned in Sound". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 22 February 2013. 
  6. ^ a b Gill, Andy (8 November 1980). "Gothic As a Brick [In the Flat Field - review]". NME: 32. 
  7. ^ a b McCullough, Dave (8 November 1980). "All Angst and No Play Or: The Yawning Pitfalls Confronting Young Modernists". Sounds. 
  8. ^ Shirley 1994, p. 44.
  9. ^ Shirley 1994, p. 46.
  10. ^ Gnuch, Kym (2012). "10 Alben mit Schlüsselcharakter für die Gothic-Szene". Sonic Seducer (in German) (Special ed.). 
  • Brooksbank, Andrew J. (1997). Bauhaus: Beneath the Mask. Nemo. 
  • Shirley, Ian (1994). Dark Entries: Bauhaus and Beyond. SAF. ISBN 0-946719-136. 

External links[edit]