Every Card You Take by Sylvain Juzan
Review by Michael Close
I briefly met Luxemburg’s Sylvain Juzan at a Genii convention a few years ago. In early 2020 we had the opportunity to spend a little more time together when he appeared on season 7a of Penn & Teller: Fool Us.
I was particularly intrigued by Sylvain’s routine. On the surface, it appeared to be a standard Matrix routine, using Lego blocks instead of coins. But with each phase, the conditions became more stringent, ending with four different-colored blocks assembling under an inverted cup. Each phase used a different method, and the final phase utilized a different method for the passage of each block. I appreciate this type of magical construction, particularly in a routine in which the basic effect is repeated several times. Such a method holds up, even under intense scrutiny. (You can watch it here.)
Sylvain applies this type of thinking to the fifteen card effects in his first book, Every Card You Take – I’ll be Watching You. The title of the book is an obvious reference to the classic Police song “Every Breath You Take.” On the surface, the song appears to be a simple expression of love and infatuation. But closer inspection reveals there is much more going on, both in the emotion conveyed and in the seeming simplicity of the song. (For example, the guitar part Andy Summers plays is far more difficult than it appears to be.) For Sylvain, this is how conjuring should be: an engaging and evocative expression of emotion with invisible technique, allowing the impact of the effect to register clearly.
The first routine in the book is also titled Every Card You Take, I’ll be Watching You. It combines a mathematical principle (which can be found in the excellent Magical Mathematics by Persi Diaconis and Ron Graham), the CATO principle, some low-level sleight of hand, and a few gaffed cards to produce a serious fooler for both laymen and magicians.
Color Correction uses a faro shuffle, a double-backed card, and a simple mathematical procedure to cause a selected card to change back color. The card control method is extremely convincing.
The next section explains the previously unpublished Bernard Bilis Extraction Move and two routines that exploit it. Bernard’s move allows you to invisibly steal a card from the middle of the deck onto the back of the card case as the deck is placed into the case. It is not a difficult move to master and should stimulate the creative juices of card enthusiasts.
Tantalean Punishments combines the procedure from The Tantalizer (Royal Road to Card Magic) with a flexible, “riffing” process to produce four freely selected cards. While not a memdeck effect, the information here will be useful for memdeck workers. Mimic Me if You Can expands on an effect of Venezuela’s Luis Otero. Sylvain combines a gaffed deck (easy to prepare) with the Gilbreath principle to create a do-as-I-do effect in which (after much shuffling and cutting of two decks), the spectator and the magician produce the same four cards.
The second new sleight (the Convincing Glimpse) provides a sneaky way to get a secret glimpse of a selected card during a convincing-control sequence. If you already know a version of the convincing control, you’ll add this to your toolbox right away.
The remaining seven routines are constructed similarly: interesting combinations of mathematical principles, gaffs, intermediate sleight of hand, and a bit of mental gymnastics. In particular, I’ve been thinking about the two-deck effect Touchdown Prophecy. I think there might be a way to combine this effect with Stewart James’s marvelous Miraskill. I haven’t put in the R&D time yet, but I will.
Sylvain’s writing style is clear, and the text is accompanied with copious full-color photographs. You will certainly be able to learn these routines.
Bottom line: Card enthusiasts and those who enjoy experimenting with different, interesting combinations of principles will certainly find much of value in Sylvain Juzan’s Every Card You Take – I’ll be Watching You. It is an excellent first effort by someone I’m sure we’ll be hearing more from in the future. ↔