Collectors Series, Vol. 2: Choose Your Masques

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Attempting to make sense of Hawkwind's early-'80s output has never been easy. Between 1980 and 1984, the band itself released just four new studio albums, but behind them, the floodgates strained beneath the weight of a career's worth of live and studio outtakes and off-cuts, many of which did, in fact, date from the first years of this new decade. Among these, the albums Zones and This Is Hawkwind, Do Not Panic are the best representatives of the 1980 and 1984 eras; The Collectors Series, Vol. 2: Choose Your Masques arrived to slip in between them, with a seamless recounting of the group's fall 1982 U.K. tour -- and at the same time, render any other document of the same period redundant. (The Friends and Relations and Independent Days collections both include overlapping material.) Somewhat confusingly titled after what was the band's then-current studio LP, The Collectors Series, Vol. 2: Choose Your Masques features six of that album's ten tracks -- among the absentees, perhaps surprisingly, is the remake of "Silver Machine" that popped up amidships. However, excellent versions of "Coded Languages," "Solitary Mind Games," and best of all, the new wavey "Waiting for Tomorrow" highlight the selections, readily slipping in alongside traditional favorites "Ejection," "Magnu," and a maniacally churning "Brainstorm." There's also a stunning version of "Master of the Universe," recast from its customary, weighty length to a breakneck heavy metal hoedown.

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