Here is a DVD Review that was originally slated for publication in Geniii a couple months ago, but lack of space (and too many words on my part) kept it out. I just got around to formatting it for posting. Please to enjoy:
The Magic of Nefesch (Volumes 1, 2, and 3)
$50 each 2-disc Volume
I had never heard of neither Nefesch nor his friend, collaborator, and producer, Titanus, before this set of discs (a total of six discs in three two-disc volumes) landed on my desk. Too bad I have to say that they landed with an unfortunate thud.
First of all, the production values are woefully poor. Virtually the entire project is shot from a singlestationarycamera angle (there are a few times where a different angle is edited into the main shot, but this is rare). The camera operator is Titanus who appears on screen, so he can be seen operating the equipment via a remote control, zooming in when a close-up is desired (which often takes the shot out of frame forcing Nefesch to adjust accordingly). There are times when the viewer simply cannot see whats going on. Call me crazy, but I think this is bad for a magic DVD.
Additionally, the picture quality is awful. It appears as if they set up a camcorder out of the box and started shooting, eschewing things like white balance and other technical stuff we viewers dont generally know about; we just know that the picture sucks. The sound ranges from terrible to horrific (and even to non-existent at a couple of points). Though there is a credit for a sound technician, it sounds more like the microphone is onboard the camera and, as such, we are subjected to a difficult to understandat any sound leveldialogue. Its particularly tough since neither gentlemans native language is English (Nefesch is from El Salvador and Titanus is Greek). With better sound, the viewer could probably understand their broken English with little effort, but the poor sound quality makes it much more difficult to understand them. Navigation is not an issue, with easy to follow menus. The magic offered on these three volumes is a whole other can-o-worms.
Young Nefesch is apparently a star in El Salvador. Hes appeared on television there as well as in the theater with his decidedly David Blaine influenced style (though he is also decidedly more personable and animated than Americas Street Magic TV-star). To what degree his stardom reaches, I have no idea. This is not important except to say that much of the magic seen here might do well on television where practicality can be of little concern.
Each two-disc volume is subtitled and focuses on a specific type of magic. Volume 1 is Penetrations and More, Volume 2 is Impossible Magic, and Volume 3 is Mind Magic. The magic is sometimes original in effect and usually so in method. But as we all should know, originality does not always equate to good and quite often here it defiantly does not equate to practical.
Volume 1 features seven items from Nefesch and two from Titanus (a mentalist). Hatching is a signed coin to egg effect. The preparation is not something a person working tables is going to want to go through for what is merely a signed object to impossible location effect. I wont bother getting into all of the cozy procedure (why would someone roll and egg along his hand past his wrist, except maybe to accomplish something odd?). The same can be said about Glastion which is a signed card to bottle. This is a case where the method is far more fascinating than the effect. Let us not forget that Larry Jennings did the same thing without all the setup and extra stuff that must go unsaid here. Cointration is a signed coin through the bottom of a glass effect that is actually practical but Im afraid is painfully obvious. And, again, there are similar effects out there that are just as practical and more deceptive.
Sweet Card is another setup-heavy idea. This might be practical if you work in restaurants and can somehow justify bringing (or surreptitiously bring) a glass to the table for the performance. Balooned [sic] is a cell phone to balloon effect, but again, its practicality is questionable since it requires you be seated at a table with a lap full of stuff. CAPture is another practical item and even has possibilities. Its a repeat signed coin to baseball cap. The method allows for a very clean handling. Crispes is another interesting signed coin to impossible location effect. This time the coin appears inside a sealed potato chip (or any other similar snack) bag. The setup is simple, as is the handling. I think this might be the best thing on this disc. The last two effectsfrom Titanusare two methods for bending a signed coin with your mental prowess. The methods are similar and practical.
Volume 2 opens with Frozen, a signed coin to ice cube. Again, the practicality of this is questionable as is the method in my opinion. PRR (Palm Reading Revelation is an odd idea that combines suggestion with a bit of fishing for information. Its an effect that can only be experienced by the person with whom you are working, if you can pull it off. Clean Hands requires that you keep a bowl of clean water handy so you can magically produce soap suds on your hands while also causing a signed coin to appear inside a sealed package of soap where you also find the identity of a selected card etched in the bar of soap (get all that?). Clean is not a word that comes to mind when I think if this piece.
Rebeled Match is another convoluted effect that I dont even think is worth spending the words to describe (I can imagine the audience reaction being, hmm, interesting). Skin is a card revelation on the spectators skin that is hardly a new idea and there are better ways to create the same effect. T&R from Hell is an apt description of yet another Torn and Restored signed card. Again, there are several others out there that are superior in both effect and method. (This is one of those tricks where the camera utterly fails to capture the entire effect. The viewer doesnt know the complete effect until the explanation.)
FMachine is an item that is so impractical that they could not perform it on the project. Instead, Nefesch describes the effect then explains how one canapparentlyhave someone insert a signed coin into a vending machine, pick any item, and have the signed coin appear inside the selected item. Good luck with this one.
Titanus then shares two versions of duplicating a spectator drawn picture via ESP using your business cards. I found the first method to be the best, though its hardly a new concept. Titanus also shares a version of Russian Roulette with Cans. His method is novel (and has nothing to do with a similar Paul Harris idea).
Volume 3Mind Magiccontains some unique ideas but again, I have to beat the impracticality drum. S.O.S. (Self Opening Soda) is self explanatory in effect: A soda can pops open with the power of your mind. As long as no one is paying very close attention to you when cleaning the can and other cozy machinations necessary to accomplish the effect that is. Blood is creepy and possibly dangerous, but I have to think that Bizarrists might find this worth exploring. The performer cries blood which, when wiped away, leaves a message or other impression behind on the cheeks. Thread is an animated thread effect that uses Nefeschs interesting Lighter Than Air attachment for invisible thread (explained in this volume as a bonus). Can is another piece that uses suggestion as well as the properties inherent in an empty aluminum can. Bowling is a prediction effect the method of which is new to Nefesch and Titanus but dates back more than half a century and the premise itself is even older. No More Kids Parties is a self-inflating balloon using a simple idea that, again, has been around the block a few times.
PsyCar is a one on one performance piece where you convince a passenger that you are controlling a car (with a manual transmission) with only your mind. Newz is an interesting idea to accomplish an old effect (predicting what word a person will circle on a newspaper while behind his back). Its based almost solely on audience management, however, and could be less than 100 percent.
This disc also includes a clip from one of Nefeschs shows (the end of Newz, a couple of illusionsincluding Metamorphosisand walking on glass). All three discs include the same 15-minute interview of Nefesch conducted by Titanus.
The descriptionsas difficult as they are to understandare quite complete. Nefesch explains everything in detail and Titanus extracts the various inspirations behind each piece; an admirable thing to do. But the lack of practical material, the inferior methodology of those that are, the price of each volume, and the poor quality of the production prevents me from giving this project even a marginal nod.
● The Magic of Nefesch ● Nefesch ● Vol. 1(2-discs) approx 198 mins., Vol. 2 (2-discs) approx 197 mins., Vol. 3 (2-discs) approx 185 mins., DVD only ● Multi-region ● Available from your favorite magic dealer. ● Dealers should contact Murphys Magic Supplies, Inc. on the web at www.murphysmagicsupplies.com or by phone at (800) 853-7403 ● $50 each volume