22nd October 2017



by Rory Bradley


The camera soars majestically over a shining city. In the distance the sun is beginning to peek its sleepy head from beneath the covers of the horizon, stretching its warm light across the land. Up here, the only sound is the wind whooshing past us — below, the still city resembles a detailed map.

The gust slows to a murmur as we gradually descend — soon finding ourselves floating over the chimneys and gardens of a residential neighbourhood — then dies completely as the camera cuts to ground level, leaving only silence. It’s as if we’re being let in on a secret: that magic moment before the world wakes up; a pristine terrace where the children have left their hopscotch chalk from the day before; a dog slumbering in the shade of the porch. Even the birds seem to be sleeping in, not offering so much as a chirp.

Then, out in the distance, we think we hear something — a remote rhythm floating on the breeze… Yes — it’s there — a barely audible tapping, like a tiny pick chipping away at the silence.

We’re airborne once more, following the volume of the beat like a river to its source. With every street we pass it becomes more defined. Deeper. Purer. What was initially a hollow 126 BPM drum loop has soon evolved into a complex composition — a strangely familiar synth line now whistling its way over the wind…

Curiosity turns to compulsion as the 21st century siren song draws us ever closer.

The beat is an oppressive thumping by the time our destination is revealed. Landing at the top of a nondescript street, we finally see it — at the end of the road — a house like any other, its door wide open. We slow to a crawl, like a roller-coaster climbing up to a sheer drop. Something tells us we shouldn’t be here, but there’s no getting off now.

We edge closer and closer until we’re at the mouth of the maddening rhythm. There are no signs of life from within, just a smell of decay.

We cross the threshold.

Empty cans, bottles and cigarette butts litter the hall. A picture frame lies smashed on the ground. Something has happened here. Something big. Down the hallway, on the right, a door lies slightly ajar, the music pumping from within: the heart of the beast. The beat continues to build as we creep along, slowly pushing open the door to reveal a party-totalled room. Unconscious bodies lie sprawled on the floor like casualties of some great battle, the surrounding cans and bottles their fallen weapons. In the centre of the room there is a table with two topless men placed at either end, staring fiercely at one another. The last warriors left standing.

All the while the beat continues to build, each new bar stacking atop the previous one, like an additional block on an already teetering Jenga tower — its exact point of collapse uncertain, though inevitable. The bass reverberates through our bones, though the men hardly seem to notice, locked in a battle of wills.

At last, the crescendo reaches its zenith. The rhythm trembles, sputtering to a stop, before tumbling down in a wave of euphoria. The harsh techno beat is drowned in a dulcet voice, its silkiness silkier than the silkiest of silks.

Oh, sometimes I get the feeling.

The men reach for their weapons, each picking up a large bottle of Blue WKD from the table.

It’s a feeling that I’ve never, never known — I get the feeling.

They draw the bottles up to their lips and —


Aviici’s “Levels” lifts back into its hook.

On-screen the title appears: THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE