In the Flat Field

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 Bauhaus
Released 3 November 1980
Studio BBC Maida Vale Studios and Southern Studios, London, England
Genre 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 rock band Bauhaus. It was recorded between December 1979 and July 1980, and was released on 3 November 1980 by record label 4AD.[1]

The album is considered one of the first gothic rock records.[2]


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.[3]


In the Flat Field was released on 3 November 1980 by record label 4AD. It was met with a negative response from critics, but topped the independent charts[4] and made the UK Albums Chart for one week, peaking at number 72.[5][4]

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."[6] Five of these bonus tracks had been previously compiled on the 4AD EP in 1983.[7]

On 19 October 2009, 4AD/Beggars Banquet reissued the album as an "Omnibus Edition", featuring the 24-bit 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 Kevin Brooksbank on the formation and creation of the band, the singles and the album.

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
Drowned in Sound9/10[8]
Trouser Pressgenerally positive[11]

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.[12] NME's Andy Gill 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'."[9] 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."[10]

In his retrospective review, Ned Raggett of AllMusic praised the album, writing "few debut albums ever arrived so nearly perfectly formed".[2] Trouser Press 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."[11]


Ned Raggett of AllMusic 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".[2] 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.[13] Music author Dave Thompson described it as "one of the most courageous albums of the age."[14]

Track listing

All tracks written 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.


Credits are sourced from the liner notes of the original release.[15]


  2. 1 2 3 4 Raggett, Ned. "In the Flat Field – Bauhaus | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
  3. Shirley 1994, p. 43.
  4. 1 2 Shirley 1994, p. 46.
  5. "Bauhaus | Official Charts Company". Official Charts. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
  6. Brooksbank 1997, p. 150.
  7. Brooksbank 1997, p. 164.
  8. 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.
  9. 1 2 Gill, Andy (8 November 1980). "Gothic As a Brick". NME: 32.
  10. 1 2 McCullough, Dave (8 November 1980). "All Angst and No Play Or: The Yawning Pitfalls Confronting Young Modernists". Sounds.
  11. 1 2 Grant, Steven; Robbins, Ira; Fasolino, Greg. " :: Bauhaus". Trouser Press. Retrieved 28 March 2015.
  12. Shirley 1994, p. 44.
  13. Gnuch, Kym (2012). "10 Alben mit Schlüsselcharakter für die Gothic-Szene". Sonic Seducer (in German) (Special ed.).
  14. Thompson, Dave (1 November 2002). The Dark Reign of Gothic Rock: In the Reptile House with The Sisters of Mercury, Bauhaus and The Cure. Helter Skelter. ISBN 9781900924481.
  15. In a Flat Field (Liner notes). 4AD. 1980. CAD 13.

External links

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