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The Mae Shi Versus Orochon Ramen: Spicy Robot Death Match

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The Mae Shi Versus Orochon Ramen. All photos by Carrie Meathrell

So I think The Mae Shi are robots.

I know, I know – they look like your typical cute-as-shit L.A. indie band, but start talking about the Book of Revelations and cybernetic intelligence with them, and you’ll start to get this funny inhuman feeling. And they’re certainly not clunky, "Forbidden Planet!" style robots, but super smooth Cylons, like something out of a Dan Simmons novel: they look just like us. But the shit they’re saying? "Basically supercomputers are being built and we’re going to have to deal with that in the next ten years. It's a part of evolution. The singularity is already happening, is the argument." See? Robots. Totally.

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The new album, Hlllyh, does nothing to dispel this alien sensation. It's both post-apocalyptic and post-modern, almost as if the sentient Moravec-machines from the sci-fi novel Ilium managed to download Black Flag, Klaus Schultze, OC punk rock, and Talmudic commentaries, devise a mathematical equation from it all, process it through ProTools and Melodyne, and then spit back out a hyperactive 21st century punk rock concept album about a vengeful Christ reaping the world for souls.

Aliens. They’re definitely aliens. Alien robot rock gods. They're playing Spaceland this Friday night at 8:30pm with PRE, if you want to study the evidence for yourself.

Point is, I needed to devise a Turing Test, and where better to do it than Orochon Ramen? This fabled ramen joint, located in a down-at-the-heels Japanese plaza in Little Tokyo, is home to the reputed Special #2, a bowl of fire so intense it has sent countless Yelpers mewling back to their cushy internet cuddle-fests. Orochon takes polaroids of any hapless soul who manages the heroic feat of finishing a bowl of this Liquid Death within thirty minutes.