In the Flat Field

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In the Flat Field
The album cover has a black background with a square in the middle featuring a black-and-white image of a naked man posing with a metal object. Below this is captioned "Bauhaus" in white text.
Studio album by
Released3 November 1980
RecordedDecember 1979 – July 1980
StudioBBC Maida Vale and Southern, London
GenrePost-punk, gothic rock
Bauhaus chronology
In the Flat Field

In the Flat Field is the debut studio album by English gothic rock band Bauhaus. It was recorded between December 1979 and July 1980, and was released on 3 November 1980 by record label 4AD, the first full-length release on that label.

The album is considered one of the first gothic rock records.[1]


Following a 30-date tour, Bauhaus went to Southern Studios in London to record their first album. The band had a clear conception of how they wanted the record to sound; hence, 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 session version, but due to obstruction from the Musicians Union, the process took over a month.[2]


NME's Andy Gill wrote that the dark atmosphere of the record was reminiscent of previous works by groups including Siouxsie and the Banshees, Adam and the Ants, and Joy Division.[3] In his AllMusic review, critic Ned Raggett described Bauhaus as a "glam-inspired rock band", said that singer Peter Murphy channeled both Iggy Pop and David Bowie, and compared Daniel Ash's guitar playing to that of Mick Ronson. Raggett noted that the album concluded with "a dramatic ending" with the song "Nerves".[1]


In the Flat Field was released on 3 November 1980 by record label 4AD.[4] It was met with a negative response from critics, but topped the UK Independent Albums Chart[5] and made the UK Albums Chart for one week, peaking at No. 72.[6][5]

The album was first released on CD by 4AD in April 1988 with eight bonus tracks, including three non-album singles: "Dark Entries", "Terror Couple Kill Colonel", and a cover of T. Rex's "Telegram Sam".[7] Five of these bonus tracks had been previously compiled on the 4AD EP in 1983.[8]

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

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[1]
Classic Rock8/10[9]
Drowned in Sound9/10[10]
Record Collector5/5 stars[12]

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.[13] NME 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 levelled at grim-faced 'modernists'". Reviewer Andy Gill then ultimately dismissed them as "a hip Black Sabbath".[3] Dave McCullough of Sounds was also negative: "No songs. Just tracks (ugh). Too priggish and conceited. Sluggish indulgence instead of hoped for goth-ness. Coldly catatonic."[14]

The American Trouser Press, however, described it as "a dense, disjointed patchwork of sounds and uncertain feelings, supported by a pressured, incessant beat. Delving deep into the dark side of the human psyche, Bauhaus conjures up unsettling images of a world given over to death and decay."[15]

In his AllMusic retrospective review, Raggett praised the album, writing "few debut albums ever arrived so nearly perfectly formed".[1] while Treble's Jeff Terich described the songs as "twisted, glam-inspired post-punk raveups".[16] Jonathan Selzer of Classic Rock magazine described the album as "remarkably self-possessed, a distillation of influences down to a potent curtains-drawn universe of Bauhaus's own."[9]


AllMusic's Raggett wrote: "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".[1] In 2012, Sonic Seducer ranked In the Flat Field at No. 4 on its list of "10 Key Albums for the Gothic Scene", calling it a work that had shattered outdated ideas of rock music.[17] Music author Dave Thompson described it as "one of the most courageous albums of the age."[18] Writing for Louder Than War, John Robb noted it as "a staple record for the true post-punk scene".[19] American musician and audio engineer, Steve Albini, from the industrial rock band Big Black called the album a "masterpiece".[20]

In the Flat Field was listed in Tom Moon's 2008 book 1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die.[21] In 2020, Rolling Stone included the album at No. 61 on its list of "The 80 Greatest Albums of 1980".[22]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Bauhaus (Peter Murphy, Daniel Ash, David J, Kevin Haskins), except as noted.

Side A
1."Double Dare"4:54
2."In the Flat Field"4:00
3."A God in an Alcove"4:08
5."Spy in the Cab"4:31
Side B
6."Small Talk Stinks"3:35
7."St. Vitus Dance"3:31
8."Stigmata Martyr"3:46
1988 CD reissue version
1."Dark Entries" (single version) 3:52
2."Double Dare" 4:54
3."In the Flat Field" 5:00
4."A God in an Alcove" 4:08
5."Dive" 2:13
6."Spy in the Cab" 4:31
7."Small Talk Stinks" 3:35
8."St. Vitus Dance" 3:31
9."Stigmata Martyr" 3:46
10."Nerves" 7:06
11."Telegram Sam" (single version)Marc Bolan2:11
12."Rosegarden Funeral of Sores"John Cale5:34
13."Terror Couple Kill Colonel" (single version) 4:21
14."Scopes" 1:34
15."Untitled" 1:27
16."God in an Alcove" 4:09
17."Crowds" 3:15
Omnibus Edition bonus disc
1."Dark Entries" (single A-side – AD 3[A]) 3:52
2."A God in an Alcove" (original version) 4:09
3."Untitled" (single B-side – AD 3[B]) 1:28
4."Terror Couple Kill Colonel" (original Beck version) 4:45
5."Telegram Sam" (original Beck version)Bolan2:19
6."Terror Couple Kill Colonel" (single B-side – AD 7[B]) 4:34
7."Scopes" (single B-side – AD 7[B]) 1:34
8."Terror Couple Kill Colonel" (Southern mix #2) 4:26
9."Crowds" (single B-side – AD 17T[B]) 3:16
10."Dive" (out-take / alternative mix) 2:15
11."Spy in the Cab" (out-take / alternative mix) 4:31
12."Stigmata Martyr" (out-take / alternative mix) 3:45
13."Rosegarden Funeral of Sores" (single B-side – AD 17T[B])Cale5:32
14."Double Dare" (alternative version / mix #4) 5:34
15."Telegram Sam" (alternative mix #1)Bolan2:24
16."Untitled 2" 1:11
Note: In Canada, "Telegram Sam" was included as track 2 on side B.


Credits are sourced from the liner notes of the original release.[23]

  • Bauhausproduction, instruments, lyrics, arrangements, sleeve design
  • Tony Cook – engineering
  • Glenn Campling – sleeve design
  • Stella Watts – photography
  • Geoff Smith – photography
  • Piers Bannister – photography
  • Eugene Merinov – photography


  1. ^ a b c d e Raggett, Ned. "In the Flat Field – Bauhaus". AllMusic. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
  2. ^ Shirley 1994, p. 43.
  3. ^ a b Gill, Andy (8 November 1980). "Gothic as a Brick". NME. p. 32.
  4. ^ "Bauhaus: 'In The Flat Field'". 4AD. Retrieved 20 November 2020.
  5. ^ a b Shirley 1994, p. 46.
  6. ^ "Bauhaus". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
  7. ^ Brooksbank 1997, p. 150.
  8. ^ Brooksbank 1997, p. 164.
  9. ^ a b Selzer, Jonathan (November 2009). "Bauhaus: In the Flat Field / Mask". Classic Rock. No. 138. p. 97.
  10. ^ Gourlay, Dom (27 October 2009). "Bauhaus re-issues: In The Flat Field and Mask Omnibus Editions Reviewed". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
  11. ^ Hansen, Skaht. "Bauhaus: In The Flat Field". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on 16 August 2000. Retrieved 29 May 2017.
  12. ^ "Bauhaus: In the Flat Field". Record Collector. 2009. p. 91. Musically, this is a timeless statement of dark, magnificent metal prowess and clarity.
  13. ^ Shirley 1994, p. 44.
  14. ^ McCullough, Dave (8 November 1980). "All Angst and No Play Or: The Yawning Pitfalls Confronting Young Modernists". Sounds.
  15. ^ Grant, Steven; Robbins, Ira; Fasolino, Greg. "Bauhaus". Trouser Press. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
  16. ^ Terich, Jeff (5 September 2006). "Bauhaus: In the Flat Field". Treble. Archived from the original on 9 July 2015. Retrieved 8 May 2017.
  17. ^ Gnuch, Kym (2012). "10 Alben mit Schlüsselcharakter für die Gothic-Szene". Sonic Seducer (in German) (special ed.).
  18. ^ Thompson, Dave (2002). The Dark Reign of Gothic Rock: In the Reptile House with The Sisters of Mercury, Bauhaus and The Cure. Helter Skelter Publishing. ISBN 9781900924481.
  19. ^ Robb, John (12 November 2012). "Bauhaus: godfathers of Goth or the ultimate post punk band – an appreciation". Louder Than War. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
  20. ^ "PureMix Mentors - Andrew Talks to Awesome People Featuring Steve Albini". YouTube. PureMix. Retrieved 12 January 2021. Steve Albini: "They [Bauhaus] are a fantastic band. …Yeah, they were an inspirational great band. I saw a show of theirs, they played a rehearsal space in Chicago called the Space Place and Naked Raygun opened the show and yeah it was an absolutely astonishing show. I love their early singles and their first album, I think it’s fantastic. I think that first album is a masterpiece and I think their singles are incredible."
  21. ^ Moon, Tom (2008). 1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die. Workman Publishing Company. pp. 53–54. ISBN 9780761153856.
  22. ^ Leight, Elias; Grow, Kory; Martoccio, Angie; Greene, Andy; Portwood, Jerry; Sheffield, Rob; Spanos, Brittany; Newman, Jason; Bernstein, Jonathan; Browne, David; Ehrlich, Brenna; Dolan, Jon; Hiatt, Brian; Shteamer, Hank (11 November 2020). "The 80 Greatest Albums of 1980". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 16 November 2020.
  23. ^ In the Flat Field (liner notes). Bauhaus. 4AD. 1980. CAD 13.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)

External links[edit]