Making interstellar ambient loops with SpaceFields

In outer space, no one can hear your Moog...

⚪️ Disclosure Statement: This is not a paid review. Neither 5 Mag nor the reviewer were compensated by the company or any promotional firm in any way for this.

There is a beautiful minimalism to Igor Vasiliev’s apps. This is a field where it can be really hard for independent developers to stick out but Vasiliev’s streamlined music apps are often said to be the best of their kind.

The ingenious SpaceFields is no exception. There are certain kinds of apps that do stuff that given time and experience you could figure out on your own, but not as well or as elegantly. SpaceFields is that type of app. It’s a “loop-based mangler effect for creating slowly changing rhythmic sound structures in deep reverb space from any external signal.” A simpler way to put it: it generates spacey-sounding soundscapes. And it does that one thing extremely well.

It was hard for me to come up with something “boring” with it. Not all of SpaceFields’ outputs were useful, but all were at least interesting.

Vasiliev states that SpaceFields is based on a loop recorder with two loops. “When one loop is recorded, a second is played back. When the loop recording stops, there is a smooth transition between them.” In effect, you can create raspy, sonorous audio or add background noise or textures to recordings that otherwise sound too clean.

It took a few minutes for me to get the hang of SpaceFields — the user interface is designed to invite “hands on” playing. Parameters give you a great degree of control for fine-tuning or experimenting.

Once I got the hang of it, I found it was really very hard for me to come up with something “boring” with it. Not all were useful, but all the output was at least interesting. In its most basic usage it generates those anxiety-inducing roars from Alien or Prometheus and my first thought was, this would be a killer cheat for composers working on video games or any kind of cinematic sound design. Even if you already use a kind of “convolution reverb” to add texture to input, SpaceFields’ reverb is beautifully done. It’s creepy how many “random”-sounding elements knock around SpaceFields’ output from very simple chord progressions.

SpaceFields works for macOS as a standalone app or as an AUv3 plugin with Ableton, Logic, and anything that supports it. I did not try iOS but it works for iPad and iPhone as well. It’s $10.99 in the AppStore.


Originally published in 5 Mag issue 201 featuring the making of Detroit techno documentary God Said Give Em Drum Machines, 10 years of Heist with Dam Swindle, Nala on Mi Domina, Ultra Nate, Steve Mill, what Spotify is doing to dance music (and why it’s a bad thing) & more. Help support 5 Mag by becoming a member for just $1 per issue.

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