Artist / Band / Musician
Gothic / Alternative / Experimental
Bauhaus slid fully formed from punk rock's womb in
late 1978. Over the course of four hot years, they
unintentionally birthed a genre (Goth), moved d forward, and surged mercurial through the
post-punk music scene, tearing into tense, bass-driven
new-wave, T-Rex-esque dark-glam, and swirling,
clattering, orchestral atmospherics, whilst churning
it into a grand, velvet, Rimbaudian hallucination. To
pin the band to one genre is nothing but reductive.
Their influences run deep, encompassing everything
from dub reggae to proto-electronic bands like Can and
Suicide. As the NME says,
"Bauhaus are to Goth, what Radiohead are to Prog."
It's all building blocks; you see it when they play
live. It comes to you in sudden illuminations! You
realize that The Faint, The Killers and Moving Units
got their twisted, sexclub beats from Bauhaus. That
the sensual 'disco punk' darkness The Rapture milk,
was unpasteurized dairy to Bauhaus 20 years ago and
second-nature at that. Seeing Bauhaus live brings it
all back home. How-without them-there wouldn't be a
Nine Inch Nails or a Jane's Addiction or a Bloc Party,
Franz Ferdinand, AFI, Interpol, Hot Hot Heat. Sui
The accomplishments of singer Peter Murphy, bassist
David J, guitarist Daniel Ash and drummer Kevin
Haskins are too many to list here. But to touch
lightly, there are the four studio albums-In the Flat
Field (1980), Mask (1981), The Sky's Gone Out (1982),
and Burning from the Inside (1983)-which merged icy
detachment with impassioned artistic violence. There's
the rivetting appearance of Peter Murphy with David Bowie in The
Hunger, this at the Thin White Duke's royal request.
There are the classic Peel sessions. Live recordings.
And hits, seismic rumbles, crushing hymns like "She's
in Parties," "Kick in the Eye," "Stigmata Martyr" and
the great, epic, pillar of ether and brooding, stark
psychedelia, "Bela Lugosi's Dead." Like Iggy Pop sang,
it was "soul radiation in the dead of night, love in
the middle of a firefight." And it still is.
Bauhaus' 1998 'Resurrection' world tour was a
smashing success but only foretold of that which was
to come: This year's full-scale reunion, kicking off
with a hush-hush, pre-Coachella secret show in LA,
where the band took the stage and played savage like
they'd never left-still full of fire and heart and
poise, before disappearing back into the wings like
the phantoms of the teenage opera they were once
dubbed by the press and then the already legendary,
spot-light stealing performance at the big festival in
the dessert.
Funky but dangerous, doomy but not without a certain
Goddardian sense of humor, it is a sound dead-set
relevant to life today. As the guns of war rattle, and
society falls back to 1980s conservatism, as hands in
the darkness reach out for a guiding star, Bauhaus had
returned to claim what's theirs. the world, you,
your heart, everything. Darkness doubles. The light
pours in.
Adam Gnade
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