Written-By, Instruments, Lyrics By, Arranged By – Bauhaus
Issued on blue 4·AD labels and in a matte black & white sleeve with a top-opening square inner sleeve with the full lyrics on one side (some die-cut diagonally at the top may have been mastered or pressed differently). This edition mastered at Utopia (represented by the lyre symbol = "Ʊ" in the runout area). A very similar looking edition of In The Flat Field mastered at Tape One appears to include a WEA pressing and yet another from an unidentified plant.
Recorded at Southern Studios, London, except track A1 recorded at Maida Vale Studios by arrangement with BBC Records.
All tracks published by Beggars Banquet Music
Manufactured in the UK
℗ 1980 4 AD
Barcode and Other Identifiers
Matrix / Runout (Runout side A, etched variant 1): CAD 13 A1 IUT Ʊ F1 LYN-9010
Matrix / Runout (Runout side B, etched variant 1): CAD 13 B1 F1 IUT THE CUTTING ROOM FLOOR CLAIMS ANOTHER INTRO LYN-9011 Ʊ
Matrix / Runout (Runout side A, etched variant 2): CAD 13 A1 /F1 Ʊ LYN-9010
Matrix / Runout (Runout side B, etched variant 2): CAD 13 B1 |F1 THE CUTTING ROOM FLOOR CLAIMS ANOTHER INTRO LYN 9011 Ʊ
I bought this album in 1980: https://www.discogs.com/Bauhaus-In-The-Flat-Field/release/379701 My copy was mislabeled: The label on the b-side was from "John Lennon & Yoko Ono - Double Fantasy". Because my sister liked the album so well, she bought it also a few months later. Her copy was also incorrectly labeled. The funny thing is that nobody else mentioned this mispress.
I’ve always felt that an album should be timeless, otherwise it never finds its way onto my radar. I remember the day I purchased In The Flat Field, during the fall of 1980, when goth music was not only a genre, but a fledgling fashion scene, with something nagging in the back of my mind that I actually didn’t want to part with the money I was holding in my hand.
I was 29 then, and as to life, I was old enough to know better and young enough not to care. The implications were that Bauhaus had created an album that was not only scary, but a bit quirky, laced with an awkwardness to its bass-lines and a dissonance to its guitar structure, not to mention that I would be simply amazed at the insanely dramatic intensity of the vocals, along with the darkly atmospheric ride Bauhaus would be taking me on.
Of course at the time I didn’t know that Peter Murphy would later jump ship and create one of the worst world music albums of all time, nor that the confused band Love & Rockets, who would deliver but one or two good songs per album, while becoming the darlings of MTV. But I digress, In The Flat Field was not a timeless record, nor was it something I enjoyed, though I did try, it’s just that this was a gothic novelty record of sorts that took me nowhere, by a group of posers attempting to create something new, something between punk and rock, by a young band of musicians who’d no real experience with anything they were presenting at all, and therein lies the essential fault of the album, there was no reality to it, not even a hallucinatory one, just a gothic novel brought to life with songs that were not easy to listen to, were memorable only in snippets, and weighted firmly in place, locking the listener in rather than allowing them to expand their horizons with emancipation and liberation … this was an album not simply about death, this was an album inflicted with the pain of dying, something I’d seen far too much of across this world as a military nurse.
Considering the number “Stigmata Martyr,” one comes face to face with Bauhaus’ attempt at speaking in tongues, though I’m not sure if it’s to some dark angel, the devil, or even to a machine they’re speaking to. That idea of the machine filters in and out of the entire album, creating a black chasm into which frail and pained minds have willingly fallen in, captured by some alienated unorthodox despair of depression, where pain is pleasure, and pleasure is a longed for distant memory, something only glimmered from the psychedelic generation that preceded them.
Of course there are those who’ll tell you that there’s nothing sugar coated about this body of work, that it’s unique and something special, though I never heard that, all I heard was misguided boredom, depression and monotonous undefined anger that tore nothing of society down, nor did it build anything up. The album is merely a black wind sweeping across the world gathering up all those who’s minds were not tethered in place, songs for an emotionally lost generation of child sexual abuse by the Catholic Church, religious cults, bad education, restrictive right winged politicians, and yes, the synthesis of bad drugs.
All of that being said, if the notion of a shivering album woven with vivid elements of horror, super dense imagery, sadness, and even the ability to long for something more bright is the cup of bitter tea you’ve chosen to drink from, then by all means venture down this rabbit hole, though I warn you, the “Drink Me” bottle you find on the table is only laced with bad Brown Acid left over from Woodstock, and will simply spiral you into emotions of an onslaught of pure demanding brutality.
*** The Fun Facts: Bauhaus too their name from the German art school that was operational from 1919 through the end 1933. Influenced deeply by the results of World War I, it combined crafts and the fine arts, and was famous for the minimalist angular approach to design that it publicized and taught.
Flat Field, or in the case of Bauhaus, being in the Flat Field: Simply put, a flat field is an image with the same number of rows and columns as the science frame. The value for each pixel is a number indicating the pixel’s sensitivity relative to the median value. Usually the values in the flat field are "normalized at about the median value of 1.0." The flat field is applied to the science frame by dividing or multiplying the value for each pixel in the science frame by the value of the corresponding pixel in the flat field. Thus, by doing this, the new pixel values in the processed science frame are as if all the pixels have equal sensitivity … or as nearly possible. Flat fields are used for reasons other than to compensate for variations in the quantum efficiency or sensitivity of individual pixels. They are also used to correct the problems in the optical path such as dust on a filter or the camera window as well as vignetting (diminishing illumination away from the center of the field) all of which have the net effect of reducing light in one or more pixels. Using the camera metaphor, Bauhaus were attempting to value all things equally, filtering out all that was unnecessary or subjective, and presenting the listener with “what is.”
St. Vitus Dance is an out of date term for Sydenham’s Choreais, a disorder characterized by rapid, uncoordinated jerking movements primarily affecting the face, hands and feet.
Stigma is a mark of disgrace associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person. In Christian traditions it bears witness to the marks corresponding to those left on the body of Jesus after the crucifixion, and said to have been impressed by divine favor on the bodies of St. Francis and others.
It's really strange to see how this post punk masterpiece hasn't been reviewed yet. Harsh and violent album immersed in thick blanket of sounds and obsessive rhythms with a strong electric feel, Ash's guitar creates sinister atmosphere, but it's Peter Murphy's voice the strong attraction element spanning from deep bass to anguished screams. This is the essence of goth music.