The first volume, Astro Boy / Yamatoji / Yuragi / and the Others, is dedicated largely to the television sound work for which he is most known. Armed with radio transmitters, reel-to-reel machines, echo, and eq, Ohno and his then assistant, the equally innovative Takehisa Kosugi, crafted a slew of warped bursts used for various cues and transitions throughout the cartoon series along with the various pieces of Astro Boy background music, each futuristic minature bizarre in its own way. Included as well are several musique concrète works from the 1980s and '90s. Most impressive of those is Yamatoji A, a deep tape piece built from Ohno's own recordings of bonsho and Tibetan recitations.
I Saw the Outer Limits / The War in Space pairs two of Matsuo Ohno's soundtrack productions from 1977-78, each reveling in the intergalactic splurt that is unmistakably Ohno. The titles throughout I Saw the Outer Limits are almost as entertaining as the cosmic warble Ohno produced. It is only appropriate that "A Brief Tour of the Solar System and Interplanetary Space" would give way to "A Slightly Longer Tour of the Galaxy and Interstellar Space", both pieces ranking among Ohno's deepest and spookiest sound worlds. The material for The War in Space appear to be both transition music and sound effects, among them Ohno-crafted explosions and laser fires, as well as some extended space war scenes. The filter use is a bit harsher, opening blasts often giving way to stasis-heavy washes. One can't help but wonder if the film might have been relocated to space after Ohno unveiled his sound work.
The closing disc, Memory in the Beginning, compiles a recent gathering of pieces, dating all from 2004. Ohno spent much of 2002 and 2003 in and out of medical centers, emerging in '04 with a drive to craft new material. Again, there is no mistaking Ohno--though the recordings hold a clarity missing from the earlier pieces, the woozy echoes and spiraling, otherworldly ripples are in full effect. New to these pieces are a penchant for rhythmic chattering and a somewhat baffling heavy use of flanging, which Ohno owns as only he can. The creativity found in these modern pieces is every bit as infectious as that of his early days as a sound designer.