Control of the field of few-cycle optical pulses has had an enormous impact on attosecond science. Subcycle pulses open the potential for non-adiabatic phase matching while concentrating the electric field so it can be used most efficiently. However, subcycle field transients have been difficult to generate. We exploit the perturbative response of a sub-100 µm thick monocrystalline quartz plate irradiated by an intense few-cycle 1.8 µm pulse, which creates a phase-controlled supercontinuum spectrum. Within the quartz, the pulse becomes space–time coupled as it generates a parallel second harmonic. Vacuum propagation naturally leads to a subcycle electric-field transient whose envelope is sculpted by the carrier envelope phase of the incident radiation. We show that a second medium (either gas or solid) can generate isolated attosecond pulses in the extreme ultraviolet region. With no optical elements between the components, the process is scalable to very high energy pulses and allows the use of diverse media.