TRICK REVIEW - Fragment by Abstract Effects
Here is my in-depth review of Fragment by Abstract Effects.
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This is a tool to make a deck of cards appear from a single card. Variations are taught on the tutorial.
WHAT YOU GET?
You will receive a gimmick which can be used with Bicycle Rider back.
A link to the password protected online instruction is also provided.
QUALITY OF THE GIMMICK
The gimmick is very simple. It may be much more simple than you have imagined. I will try to review its quality without disclosing what it is.
It’s constructed with good material and will last a long time. There is no worry that it will break eventually, because you can make your own gimmick easily. It’s time consuming though. It takes about 30 minutes. You will surely have all the materials to make the gimmick.
There is a nice subtlety of the gimmick construction which makes the gimmick work nicely. And the effects are possible because of this subtlety. This subtlety is very thoughtful.
It is small enough to hide in the hand. The most common way to hold and hide the gimmick is to hold it with a palm down hand. Depending on how large your fingers are, you may need as many as 3 fingers to hide the gimmick.
If you want to ring in or ring out the gimmick, it’s hard to palm with traditional techniques because of its nature. Gambler cop kind of palms are more suitable to handle the gimmick, compared with usual top or bottom palm technique. In fact, its construction makes it very hard to manipulate in your hands. And dropping the gimmick may cause ‘disaster' in your live performance.
It is not a single unit, thus it is inconvenient to carry in your pocket unless you have a container for it.
Each gimmick is hand made. Thus its construction may not be perfect. For my unit, there is significant difference of width at both ends of the gimmick. It doesn’t affect the operation but it seems that the manufacturer is not paying attention enough.
To conclude, this simple gimmick is kind of ‘innovative’. But its simplicity may disappoint some buyers. Due to its construction, there is a lot of limitation in real world application. For example, you cannot use the cards produced. I have no complaint about the quality of the gimmick. But neither am I satisfied with the gimmick. I will elaborate further in the following sections.
QUALITY OF THE TUTORIAL
The explanation comes as online tutorial on Murphy Magic website. The video can be downloaded on your own device.
The effect is explained in a 42 minutes and 14 seconds long video. The explanation is presented by Nicholas Lawrence and The Other Brothers.
The tutorials are shot in two settings: one in ’studio’, and another in home setting with Nicholas Lawrence. The explanation is generally clear because that’s nothing much complicated about the gimmick. When they show you the variations, you will instantly know what to do without resorting to explanation.
The tutorial is not nicely organized. There are a lot of ‘failures’. For example, the sunshines on the table (in the studio) makes the deck almost invisible, and thus they have to give you another shot (in home setting). And in ‘Hover Spread Appearance’, the gimmick is flashed despite everything was in good-to-go position. Nicholas Lawrence then tell you ‘you can add a card to hide it’, as if this effect is done for the first time and only at that moment he aware the issue.
Length (in minutes) of the main parts (I literally counted):
What you get - 3:25
Explanation (deck & card transpo) - 8:41
The Toss Appearance - 2:38
Spread Appearance - 0:51
Hover Spread Appearance - 1:22
Fan Appearance - 1:50
Fan Vanish - 2:29
Compression Vanish - 3:34
Rising Card - 04:06
Inflated Deck (Idea) - 4:22
Portal Pack - 7:19
Final Thoughts - 1:02
I will summarize all variations with my comments as below.
Main Effect (Deck & Card Transpo): A signed card is transposed with a deck. There is no live performance or even studio demo of this effect. They only went through the effect in tutorial. To be honest, I am hugely disappointed with this. First of all, the way they handle the gimmick is not practical at all. I strongly doubt that whether they have actually done it as per the explanation exactly even once in live performance. You will understand what I mean when you see how they handle the extra prop they introduced in the tutorial. In fact, using the technique in ‘Portal Pack’, there is no need to use the gimmick at all. The idea of this effect is nice, but the execution is very poor. I am quite confident to say that this effect won’t be in anyone’s repertoire in long run.
The Toss Appearance: This is the effect you may have seen in the trailer, performed by Justin Flom. This is a beautiful effect if done right, but its success largely depends on the table condition. Besides, you need to experience how to throw it right.
The Spread Appearance: You spread a deck out of a ’single card’. This is the easiest application and probably the one mostly done by magicians.
Hover Spread Appearance: This is a variation of the Spread Appearance. The cards appear as you hover a single card on the table. It needs some practice but the illusion is very good. I like how creative it is.
Fan Appearance: You fan a deck out of a single card. But after that you can do nothing with deck except vanish it. You can’t even close the fan and make it look like a normal deck. It’s an idea to play for fun, but not a practical application in live performance.
Fan Vanish: This is the solution to handle the deck produced from the fan with technique above. Nicholas Lawrence demonstrates how to vanish the deck after closing the fan. The handling is not elegant even in front of camera. And if your hand is not big enough, you cannot use the palm which was taught on the video. In fact, even if your hand is as big as Nicholas Lawrence’s, it will be challenging to do the palm. As you will see on the tutorial, he need to use two hands to adjust the palm at the first time, and the second time the gimmick flashes obviously. In fact, it’s better to achieve the same effect with stage manipulation technique.
Compression Vanish: This is a joke. On the tutorial, the gimmick flash the whole time. And the illusion is so poor that, unless audience is blind, it won’t work. The teaching in the studio is abruptly stopped. And it continues in the home tutorial. Even though Nicholas Lawrence tried to make the vanish at the end convincing, but the compression of the deck is just so poor.
Rising Card: This is intended to be a magician fooler. The idea is interesting, but it is unpolished as a complete routine. A gimmick and a deck switch are required to accomplish a simple rising card effect. Besides, once you inset the signed card into the ‘deck’, you can do nothing except to make it rise. No shuffle is allowed. To magicians, the handling of the deck is not convincing. Thus even if the ‘rising' part of the effect is fooling, I don’t see how impressive it is to magicians. SCORE: 3/10
Inflated Deck: This is an innovative idea to make a whole deck vanish in a single hand. It needs some practice but the illusion is perfect. The disadvantage of this variation is the get-ready position. It’s hard to do it in the middle of other tricks.
Portal Pack: This is a card and deck transposition effect without using the gimmick. This may be the most valuable item in the tutorial because it totally works. It’s quite ridiculous that the best item in this tutorial is the one without using the gimmick.
To conclude, some ideas in this tutorial are usable but most of them are not good in live performance. As effects on social media, I don’t think they are good enough. I am very disappointed at many items because they look like ideas which have not be tested at all. It looks like ‘let’s think of 10 ideas and put them in the tutorial’ kind of things to me. Especially for the main effect, that is impractical and not superior in terms of methods. I am not thrilled by this tutorial at all. It is just a compilation of unpolished ideas (with some exceptions).
KEY POINTS OF THE PRODUCT
The gimmick is very simple.
The gimmick should last very long but not forever.
The gimmick can be repaired easily.
The gimmick is difficult to palm.
The deck produced cannot be used as normal deck.
Many unpolished ideas in the tutorial.
Most variations are not practical in live performance.
Some of the basic variations are easy. There is nothing in the tutorial beyond reach of average magicians. But technique like single-hand vanish needs practice to make it look convincing.
The gimmick is not examinable, and the deck produced is not usable in any sense.
PROS ABOUT THE PRODUCT
The idea of the gimmick is interesting.
Some variations are visual on social media.
No worry of losing the gimmick, because you can make it easily.
CONS ABOUT THE PRODUCT
The deck cannot be used.
Many unpolished ideas.
Very limited application.
Fragment by Abstract Effects is a huge disappointment in many aspects despite the idea sounds promising.
This is something fun to play with for a few days, but not something practical in terms of how the gimmick can be handled.
The biggest issue of this gimmick is the difficulty of integrating it into other effects. In other words, you can’t use the deck produced by this gimmick, and you have to ditch it right after the effect. Unless you have a very logical flow of routines, the introduction of this gimmick in your bigger act will be challenging. How many times have you seen in a close up act that, the magician produces a deck but does not use it for following effects at all? Therefore, this item is a one-trick pony, and not even a good one-trick pony in live performance.
If you intend to use it on social media solely, it may offer you some fun. But for professional and hobbyist who expect that it’s cool to use the deck after producing it, I won’t recommend it. Like many unpolished ideas on the market, Fragment looks much better on the trailer and on paper than the actual item.
I am quite sure that for most of the buyers, this item will be only used 1-2 times on social media, and it will end up in the drawer indefinitely. This won’t be something in one’s repertoire for more than a month. I regret much at buying this at full price, the only thing I didn’t regret is I am able to write an honest review and share my thoughts with readers like you.
Tutorial Quality: 6/10
Effectiveness of Tricks: 5/10
Cost Performance: 4/10
Final Score: 4/10
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