Review: Alchemy by Mechanic Industries

[vc_row full_width=”” parallax=”” parallax_image=””][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_custom_heading text=”Reviewer: Matt Lee” font_container=”tag:h2|text_align:left” google_fonts=”font_family:Abril%20Fatface%3Aregular|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal”][vc_column_text]Alchemy is an instant video download form the folks at Mechanic Industries. It covers several transformations of a coin into a card. Some of them can be strung together in a spellbound type routine, but most are one off visual effects. Included are all the explanations required of the various sleights, cleanups etc. There are also bonus ideas, for the more adventurous magician to experiment on.

It costs about SGD 7, and is available for download from their website.

The instructions are clear and presented well. A competent diligent magician will have no trouble understanding the sleights taught within and will be able to practice them upon completion of the video.

It is very obvious that this is meant for magicians who are serious sleight monkeys. No actual routine is offered, neither is any justification provided for the props (a coin and a card). A quick fix that I will offer is to do and practice the routines with your local coin currency and a credit card. You can then borrow the credit card, change it into a coin, then change it back. A good prelude for another magic trick involving the use of the card perhaps.

So the big question – is it any good? This is difficult to answer because the actual transformations on offer here are quite a mixed bag – and their efficacy will of course depend on the execution. For example, I’m not entirely sure the first transformation he teaches will actually fool anyone – I tested this hypothesis by showing some friends the trailer and a significant number of them guessed correctly how it was done. Not a good start.

That being said, I think there are some really, really good sequences in here – the 2nd transformation sequence ‘Vapor’, is so visual and so good that I fell out of my chair.

Sleight wise, the back palm work on the video was quite innovative. I like the modification he made to the Tenkai Palm (using the little finger in the 2nd transformation) I have not seen it before and I believe this is an original modification.

Another thing which deserves mentioning is the various cleanups taught. In my opinion, these deserve some study. Very often in closeup magic, one finds oneself holding out in similar situations to the video – an object held at the fingertips with another object concealed in FP. This videos offers extremely innovative suggestions to clean up.  

That being said, what I didn’t quite like was the crediting was a little lax – he makes liberal use of several sleeving techniques which go unnamed and also Geoffrey Latta is not credited with the ‘Nowhere Palm’. He also mistakenly credits Lennart Green for the lateral palm when in fact it belongs to Jim Steranko. You might think that stuff like that is not important and I am making a mountain out of a molehill, but since this video seems to be geared towards hardcore sleight enthusiasts, they are exactly the type that will care about these admittedly minor issues.

Still, you are getting quite a lot for 7 SGD, so I guess it’s an ok purchase. If perhaps you had a routine in mind which involves transforming cards into small objects of any sort, then this is definitely for you. If you are a sleight monkey, this is definitely for you.

Please support intellectual property. Only buy original. Available directly from Mechanic Industries.

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Ning Cai is a Singapore Literature Prize nominated author, who was also long listed for the Epigram Books Fiction Prize in 2016. A bestselling writer, she is also recognised for her illusionist/ escapologist stage character Magic Babe Ning, and recognised by Channel News Asia as South East Asia's first professional female magician.

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