I listen to great drum and bass almost all the time, of which Critical Music are some of the finest purveyors. They’ve got a set of EPs called BINARY, featuring some cool artwork, which, given the name, is obviously something to do with binary encodings of some sort.

It’s bugged me for ages, but with the release of the excellent BINARY005 and severe winds of boredom blowing through my life this afternoon, I finally had a go at one in Ruby. My gut instincts were right: 7-bit ASCII, left-to-right, top-to-bottom, making decoding reasonably straightforward.

The thing that tripped me up the most was the fact that in the original JPEGs, black isn’t always true black, so my early attempts at detecting a bit in the image didn’t work out so well, making me explore alternative text encodings rather than assume the images weren’t playing ball.

Anyway, here’s the obligatory GitHub repo!