I Hate Matrix Effects!

Discuss your favorite close-up tricks and methods.

Postby Guest » 02/08/05 05:32 PM

I love cards and I love coins..... but I can't stand matrix effects! Is there something wrong with me? Or, do others share my disdain?


Postby Guest » 02/08/05 05:56 PM

I am 100% sick of them...I am with you

Postby Guest » 02/08/05 06:19 PM

I still remember the first time I saw a matrix effect. I thought hmm neat.

I learned a couple routines, but I rarely perform them. I think spectators like them ok, but they bore me, and I have seen spectators figure it out instantly.

I suppose it all comes down to personality though.

In "Strong Magic" Darwin mentions that he hates tricks where the cards are given personalities, like where the King and Queen are married.

But that is just his preference, those tricks don't suit him.

Perhaps matrix effects, however magical they can be, just don't suit our performing styles.

Postby Michel Huot » 02/08/05 06:20 PM

I didn't care much about them until I saw Armando Lucero perform at FFFF
Man...pure magic!
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Postby Pete Biro » 02/08/05 07:11 PM

Michel... YOU HIT IT... you have seen someone make MAGIC... those of you that don't like the effect, I dare you to say that after you see Armando or Dean Dill perform.
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Postby Pete Biro » 02/08/05 07:12 PM

And... I really believe the word HATE has little use in the English language. Think about it. :cool:
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Postby Guest » 02/08/05 07:38 PM

Any word like any effect, has a context. The creative process need not be about openness and flexibility. Sometimes it is about hacking away the inessentials. Thinking about certain things with so much passion that it drives you to hate, can be good in art.

The excentric cook from the third season of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" put it nicely.

"I will not work with capers! They are ridiculous!"

Postby mago » 02/09/05 05:32 AM

Fortunately, the vast majority of people have never seen nor heard of a "matrix".

They just sit back and enjoy what we say that we are tired of.

May I say tens of thousands have never seen one?

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Postby Carl Mercurio » 02/09/05 07:39 AM

Matrix always gets a great reaction when I perform bar magic. Just keep it snappy. Have a silver dollar loaded for the finish. I've seen Dean Dill and Shoot Ogawa do their routines, and they are wonderful. Even the more simple routines, such as the one I do (essentially the Wagner routine from Commercial Magic), are very entertaining and magical. Don't make it studied or laborous, and don't make it into a puzzle.
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Postby Guest » 02/09/05 09:04 AM

I think the reason people hate this effect is because it is a veritable template for useless and trivial twists and improvements. A trick like twisting the aces has a similar problem. If you have a serious hatred of matrix effects, go back and look at some of the simplest and best versions of the trick. Ross Bertram's assembly, Dingle's four coins and countin' and of course Schneider's Matrix.

Schneider's original handling is, in many ways, the essence of well-constructed magic. The props are easy to borrow and examine, the moves are minimal and easy, the effect is clear, you start and end clean and best of all on the last coin when they are watching the closest, you have already beat them.


Postby Guest » 02/09/05 12:20 PM

In my experience, the only people who 'hate' Matrix are magicians.

Over the years I've used dozens of routines;
From Al Schneider's basic routine to Dean Dill's advanced work. They've ALL 'killed' the laity.

If you're part of the magi-minority who enjoy matrix work, I've posted a couple vid clips on my site;

Conn\'s vid page

Look for Takagi's "Convergance" and "Chink-Chink"

Postby Randy Naviaux » 02/09/05 01:20 PM

That 'Convergence' is a beautiful routine to watch.

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Postby Guest » 02/09/05 02:35 PM

What do you think about linking rings? ;)

Postby Guest » 02/09/05 06:55 PM

Please don't get me started Rafael! If Mr. Biro did not like my use of the word "hate", he would certainly not care for my choice of words describing those hideous rings. :)

Postby Guest » 02/09/05 07:00 PM

Now Doug... That chink-chink is good! I just watched the video. Good stuff! Maybe someone can point me to a stinking ring routine worth watching.


Postby Bill Duncan » 02/09/05 09:16 PM

Whit Hayden's comedy linking ring routine is one of the most entertaining things ever in the history of magic.

Cellini's ring routine is poetry.
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Postby Robert Kane » 02/09/05 10:31 PM

Roger Klause performs a superb rings routine explained in his book In Concert.

Personally, I love Matrix effects myself. I use Gerry Griffen's version and it never fails to get an excellent response.

Mike Rogers often stated on the good ol' Stevens Magic forum that he disliked Matrix effects. He felt they were not "magic." I respectfully disagreed.
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Postby Guest » 02/10/05 10:37 AM

Mike did also say that he disliked them because they were repetitive. "OK, so you made the coin jump from under one card to another. Now move on. No need to do it another 4 times!".

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Postby Robert McDaniel » 02/10/05 11:12 AM

I remember the first time I saw Al Schneider perform Matrix. I thought it looked like real magic. :eek:

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Postby Adrian Kuiper » 02/10/05 11:33 AM

Back in '76 (I think....) or whenever the IBM was held in Washington, I was in Tannens when Shigeo Takagi was there. He performed Convergence and another routine. It looked like pure magic. He gave me an autographed copy of the instructions which, over the years, I've misplaced.

I DID, however, learn the routine and do it for a few years. The instructions had no verbiage....just photos.

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Postby Richard Kaufman » 02/10/05 12:30 PM

Takagi's routine is in my book The Amazing Miracles of Shigeo Takagi.
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Postby Guest » 02/10/05 12:50 PM

I've never learned it, or bought the key ring you need in order to be able to do it, but over 25 years ago I saw Dan Garrett perform his 'Rings of Saturn' routine and still remember it today as being the most beautiful and mystifying I've ever seen. I did learn John Mendoza's 3 ring routine from The Book of John and found it went over like gangbusters (sorry, I've inexplicably lapsed into thirties jargon; I meant to say that it was da bomb.)

As for matrix--that's why I can't sit through more than three or four acts at a convention close-up contest, although that particular forum is an excellent way to keep abreast of what DVDs have been released in the past year. There's always the guy who tries to cause the coins to assemble in a convoluted fashion light years beyond his actual performing ability, the guy who drags it out for ten minutes by telling a stupid story about the coins being this and the cards being that (almost always involving aliens) and the guy who does it and then follows with Roth's chink-a-chink, coins through table and then coins across with a jumbo coin finish. Always. This formula is repeated for two hours, the only variable being whether or not the performer mumbles inaudibly to himself or screams like a banshee because he thinks it's "funny."

But do I do it? Hell, yeah. Followed by a reverse assembly and then a production of two jumbo coins. Give the peeps what they likes.

Postby El Mystico » 02/10/05 12:52 PM

Earlier there was an interesting comparison with Twisting The Aces...

and no one picked up on it.

To me - matrix at its most basic, is stunning to a layman. Yes, magicians have seen all the versions, and something unusual is needed to stimulate their jaded appetite...

but what about Twisting The Aces? Does the original plot appeal to a lay audience, or is it something that just appealed to magicians when it was new?
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Postby Guest » 02/10/05 01:26 PM

Maybe this should be a separate thread

Postby Bill Wells » 02/10/05 03:06 PM

With regard to Linking Ring routines....don't forget Richard Ross.
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Postby Michel Huot » 02/10/05 06:25 PM

Returning to Matrix effects,

there is something very magical when in a cocktail party with a special group you tell them to stay standing while you go on your knees. Then you do your favorite matrix effect...it's really magical. They feel like they just been part of something unique...
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Postby Bill Duncan » 02/10/05 10:19 PM

Originally posted by Dom:
what about Twisting The Aces? Does the original plot appeal to a lay audience, or is it something that just appealed to magicians when it was new?
As someone who had the temerity to publish two variants of Twisting the Aces in one booklet Ill opine that the effect does indeed resonate with lay audiences, if given a decent presentation.

And like Matrix, the effect has been way over-complicated in the name of improvement. After doing the original for twenty plus years all I could come up with to improve it, is that in one handling the audience decides the order in which the aces turn over. The other is a gaffed variant where the cards are simply fanned and shown both sides rather than counted. The effect, from the audiences perspective, is hardly different from the original.

Not much that needs improvement kinda like Matrix.
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Postby Guest » 02/28/05 07:12 PM

I myself don't perform any Matrix effects at the moment (I have a little bit in the past though) so for those that have performed them for a while and are more experienced with them, how does the audience react to Matrix effects? In my opinion, this is all that matters. A magician might be impressed to see a person do 30 perfect faros in a row but would this entertain a spectator? Maybe, maybe not. This is where experience does it's part to make a magician grow as an entertainer.

Postby Guest » 02/28/05 07:58 PM

Re: Dan Huffman

"But do I do it? Hell, yeah."

And thank goodness you do.

Your performance of (if I remember correctly) the 'Reversi' routine from Kaufman's "Coinmagic" inspired me to work on some 'advanced' versions of the plot.

This goes back almost 20 years... at the card table in Venture III on a Sat afternoon... ah those were the days.

Postby Guest » 03/05/05 08:57 PM

Ah...yes they were. I've played with a bunch of the reverse plots, but Reversi (not from Coinmagic but Richard's NY Magic Symposium #2) is the one I do. The only changes I've made is to sit cross-legged on the floor so that when the first visible coin is vanished I can use the 'Malini's Favorite' ruse from Stars of Magic to show BOTH hands empty, then as the coin is revealed to have traveled under the card the other hand steals the coin back off the knee and loads it. The next coin is vanished by kicking it backwards UNDER the crossed knee in the act of picking it up and pretending to transfer it to the other hand, which opens moments later to reveal another both hands empty vanish. This gets stolen back out during the reveal under the card to use in the big hoo-hah finish.

Your kind words continue to stroke my ego. Thanks Doug.

Postby Johnny Mystic » 03/08/05 06:34 PM

This is one of the best impromtu magic effects ta ever exsist! Shame on you for not being able to recognize that!

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Postby Johnny Mystic » 03/09/05 11:52 PM

So where is Monty? :rolleyes:

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Postby Guest » 03/09/05 11:55 PM

All I can say is I saw Armando's Matrix routine a few weeks ago and it totally rocks. He closes his act with it and the audience went nuts. It's his particualr handling of it that makes it work. He's not just doing the same old same old version.

Postby Jonathan Townsend » 03/10/05 06:09 AM

I keep hoping some will don sunglasses and dark clothes... but no, just the same old fussing with four coins and some covers.

Morpheus, where are those pills!

Between the red and blue pills, the mirror and the basic idea of the Matrix being responsive to the will of those who are focused on it... so much potential.

Likewise in linear algebra, there are matrices larger than 2x2 and much more fun to be had by those who look in the books.

Does anyone do the Roth Stonehenge Assembly with the postcards?

Okay back to pointless variations of Al's trick. < guess who is grouchy this morning >
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Postby Guest » 03/10/05 09:09 AM

Yay! You know I love it when you're grouchy, JT!

Jon's mention of Roth's postcards reminds me of another effect I used to do years ago (and like so many others, years later I wonder why I ever stopped)the late, great Horace Bennet's 'A Penny For Your Thoughts' from Bennet's Best .
While not a traditional 'sympathetic coins' routine, it is an assembly and what makes it interesting to me is that the coins gather under a savings passbook--a somewhat more thematically logical prop if you're doing a money trick than, say, a playing card. The moves are fairly easy and standard but the choreography of these creates a very pretty routine. Plus it ends with a big penny under the passbook. In my ignorant youth I used to argue with Horace about overkill, citing the whole "purity of effect" line of BS which as I totter off toward middle age I now find ludicrous. Ask a layperson which they'd rather see--coins moving from here to here, or coins moving from here to here followed by the production of a large object out of nowhere. The only 'overkill' in such a situation is when the steals are repeated enough so that the method becomes obvious. Magic is like sex: multiple climaxes are great but when you don't know when to stop it just gets tedious.

Postby Guest » 03/10/05 03:25 PM

Postcards and Savings books are nice, but, perhaps the most "logical" of all published matri' effects is Paul Cummins' 'Top Billing'

Dollar Bills are used as covers
and a silver dollar provides a nice climax.

Paul's superb handling/constuction is described in his FASDIU notes and/or on his Up In Smoke DVD. Check it out... you won't be dissapointed.

BTW (with all due respect to Mr Shneider) the variations of "Al's Trick" are actually variations of Ross Bertam's Coin Sssembly (from Stars of Magic.) Of course Yank Hoe's "Sympathetic Coins" deserves a nod (though, his effect was presented as a penetration, not a transition/assembly.)

Postby Guest » 03/10/05 05:23 PM

Impromptu it is. I recognize that. For my money (pun intended), it is not one of the great effects. That's just my personal opinion..... and I started this topic to see if I was alone with this thought. I was turned on to Mr. Conn's effect, "chink-chink", which I thought was very good. I am a huge fan of the cups and balls, and I know there are magicians who cringe at the sight of them. We all have our likes and dislikes. What effect brings Johnny Mystic displeasure?

Postby Guest » 03/10/05 10:26 PM

What entertainment value is there in making coins switch positions unless its directly into my pocket?

Postby Guest » 03/11/05 07:38 AM

Mr Roth's Stonehenge Assembly with the postcards gives the routine, and hence the magic, meaning. This is what separates the magicians from the tricksters. Magic without meaning renders the effect as merely a trick, and onlookers invest no credability in it or its performer.

Also, 99% of all Matrix routines, that I've seen, are performed much too fast. This dilutes any magical element greatly.

Timing and texture. Often sadly forgotten in the scramble for personal glory.

Postby Guest » 03/11/05 12:01 PM

I certainly agree with Graham. Sometimes, however, the meaning is simply that magic is occurring right before the spectator's eyes. While overdone to us, Matrix in all its variations and precursors, when done smoothly, is positively eye-popping. Even the most inebriated or dimwitted of spectators can grasp instantly the pure, visual spectacle of what is going on. No emotional hook or soul-baring needed. Yes, an act of nothing but 'look at this, look at this, look at this'would quickly become tedious but so would an act consisting nothing but stories. As an interlude, where the audience doesn't have to think but just watch, Matrix and its ilk are hard to beat.


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